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' The Jigtire rose. It ivas a girL' [A 13- 



VERBENA CAMELLIA 



STEPHANOTIS 



ETC. 



WALTER BESANT 

AUTHOR OF 
'all sorts and conditions of men,' 'DOROTHY FOR'^TER,' ETC. 




WITH A FRONTISPIECE BY GORDON BROWNE 



iLouDou 

CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY 

1892 



'15-5' 



PREFACE 



CoNCEKNiNG the stories contained in this volume, I desire to 
place on record one or two incidents which may serve as a 
preface. 

The second narrative relates the ' Doubts of Dives.' This 
first appeared in Arrowsmith's well-known series of tales. 
One evening, soon after its publication, on returning home 
about five o'clock, I learned that a gentleman, who had 
refused to give his name, was waiting to see me. 

On my entrance, he rose and looked at me with a very 
odd expression, which I mistook for curiosity. I asked 
him his name. In reply, he laughed aloud — ^he laughed in 
derision, and remarked that this was really too absurd — 
much too absurd. As a short-sighted man may, and often 
does, forget faces only half-seen, I supposed that I had met 
this person somewhere, and had somehow forgotten him. I 
therefore repeated the question with emphasis ; but obtained 
a similar exasperating reply. He would not believe, I found, 
that I failed to recognise him. Then I requested him to tell 
me at once where I had met him and what was his purpose 
in calling upon me, or else to walk out of the house. He 
thereupon ceased from scoffing, and proceeded to business. 

As for the former question, it appeared, according to his 
statement, which wanted nothing of directness and clear- 
ness, that I was in the frequent habit of meeting him. 



034 



;v PREFACE 

although for purposes of my own I now affected to deny 
the fact. As for his purpose in calling upon me, it was for 
nothing less than to reproach me with my infamous con- 
duct. Pressed further as to the exact nature of the infamy, 
he set forth with some detail — say, rather, he reminded me 
— recalled to my recollection — the very remarkable method 
by which I had gained possession of the narrative contained 
in this volume, which I had recently with intolerable im- 
pudence passed off — or palmed — upon a credulous public as 
actually my own. 

The gentleman's story is as follows. It is necessary to 
explain that he is quite sincere and believes every word of 
it. He says that he was hypnotized. By Me. Through 
a double door in the Temple. By Me. Eeduced to the 
hypnotic condition — by Me — he was compelled — still by 
Me— to surrender this story ! — his own story, every word 
of it — called the Doubts of Dives, word for word as it has 
been published — always by Me. 

The verses in it, he says, further, are verses which he 
himself wrote and has long been accustomed to sing to music 
of his own composition. 

That is his story. What have I got to say in reply ? 
Keally, nothing at all. It is a most serious charge, and I 
have got nothing to say. It also appears — for this is by 
no means all — that in another story called ' The Bell of 
St. Paul's,' everything that is good — he says that there 
is nothing else good in it — was deliberately taken from 
this gentleman — by Me — whilst in a hypnotic condition, 
and transferred — by Me — to my poor pages, with the view 
of lighting them up. Lastly — for there is still more — the 
very day before he called upon me he says he was hypno- 
tized, on the Metropolitan Eailway — always by Me, the 
great unsuspected and hitherto unknown Pirate-Hypnotizer 
— and what was taken from him on that occasion the Lord 
only knows ! He himself does not know, and I am sure I 



PREFACE V 

do not. Having thus let me understand that he was fully 
acquainted witli the nefarious and predatory nature of my 
conduct, and finding me impenitent and stubborn — even to 
the extent of denying that I possessed any hypnotizing 
power or experience at all, and of maintaining that I never 
had tried to hypnotize or to mesmerize anybody — he retired. 
I still await those legal proceedings with the threat of which 
he departed. 

There is only one point of difference between us. I pro- 
nounce the word Dives as a dissyllable ; he, as a mono- 
syllable, as if it was the third person singular, indicative 
mood, present tense of the verb 'to dive.' 'I write it dives,' 
he said, ' and I pronounce it dives, and I mean to go on so 
pronouncing it.' For this single point of difference — it 
is, I know, a small thing — I am grateful. 

Nor was this all. I received shortly after this event a letter 
from South Africa signed for surname ' Dives.' Attracted, 
the writer said, by the appearance of his own name, he had 
bought the little book. This was natural curiosity. Imagine, 
however, the further doubts of Mr. Dives when he dis- 
covered, on reading the work, that his own chum, Mr. 
Pindq^-, was also brought into the narrative, and this, though 
the author has never seen that part of South Africa, and 
knew nothing about Mr. Dives or Mr. Pindar ! 

Concerning the ' Demoniac,' its purpose is obvious. It is 
not at all a temperance story — it is the story of a disease so 
strange as to seem like the possession of an evil spirit : it is 
incurable : it seizes a man and it holds him until he dies. 
The only possible escape for him is in total abstinence from 
the beginning. Later on, that escape becomes impossible 
It is a strong subject, and to those who turn away with a 
shudder from anything stronger than a simper or a kiss, it has 
proved a repellant story. Its appearance produced a shower 
of letters, some witnessing from their own most sorrowful 



vi PREFACE 

experience to the truth of the picture, some abusing the 
author for drawing so gloomy a picture, some remonstrating, 
some conveying approbation and thanks. One lady wrote 
to lament that I had destroyed her only hope ; her husband, 
she said I had destroyed his own fortune and his health ; had 
ruined her life as well as his own ; had saddened and dis- 
graced his children : but she had nourished one hope — that 
he would yet reform. x\las, poor lady ! the only reply was 
that her husband was only a common drunkard ; not, like 
George Atheling, possessed of an evil spirit. The common 
drunkard may reform. There is still hope for that lady — for 
the Demoniac, none. I have only to add that I took counsel, 
during the progress of the history, with a young scholar 
learned in medicine, and that he kept the scientific part of 
it right for me, for which I thank him most gratefully. 

I have to acknowledge, also, my obligations to my friend 
Mr. Charles Brookfield, who suggested the motif of the 
story 'Verbena Camellia Stephanotis.' 

W. B. 

United University Club, 
April 3, 1892. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS - - - 3 
T1T1-: DOUBTS OF DIVES: 

I. THE LAMENT OF DIVES - - - " -3 

11. THE DINNER BELL - - - " ■ 35 

III, THE CONFESSIONS OF A FIANCKE - - "49 

IV. THE NEW LEAF - - - - "57 
V. KIT'S ARRIVAL - - - - - 66 

VI. THE TNEXPECTED - - - - - 73 

VII. WHAT HAS COME TO HIM ? - - - "79 

VIII. LET ME EXPLAIN - - - - - 86 

IX. WITH FRIENDS SO OLD - - - ' 9- 

X. AFTER LUNCHEON - - - - - I 04 

XI. THE PICNIC - - - - - - I 1 1 

XII. THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECOND DAY - - II6 

XIII. 'UNDERSTAND ME CLEARLY' - - - 1 23 

XIV. 'TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELVES' - - - 1 29 

XV. THE LAST DAY - - - "134 

XVI. THE LAST EVENING - - " - " '4' 

XVII. TAKE YOUR FREEDOM - - - • ' 49 



viii CONTENTS 

THE DEMONIAC: pAoe 

I. HOW THE THING CAME - - - "157 

II. HOW THE THING WAS RECEIVED - - - 1 68 

III. OF THE FALLING OUT ... - 175 

IV. OF THE PHYSICIAN - - - - " 183 
V. OF THE VOYAGE - - - - - I90 

VI. HOW THE PATIENT RETURNED - - - 202 

VII. OF PENELOPE AND HER WOOERS - - - 209 

VIII. IN ARCADIA - - - - - "215 

IX. AT THE SIGN OF THE BON MARI - - - 23O 

X. MY OWN HOME - - - - -239 

XI. THE RECLUSE ..... 249 

XII. HE IS ALIVE- - - ■ - - - 256 

XIII. BUSINESS AT BOSTON .... 364 

XIV. HE IS FOUND ..... 277 

XV. THE MOUTH OF HELL .... 283 

XVI. THE REWARD ..... 295 

XVII. THE LAST ..---. 307 

THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER - - - 317 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 



ETC. 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 



I. 

Then the Priest, as the Eubric directs, took the child in 
his own hands, holding it dexterously, and not like a 
prentice, or mere curate, unaccustomed to the right handling 
of a baby, but with a circular sweep of the left, so that the 
head of the infant lay nestled in the bend of the arm, and 
the body was supported by the hand, and the right hand 
was free to administer the healing waters of the font, and 
he said to the child's sponsors, who were her earthly father 
and her earthly mother, with Aunt Eliza : 

' Name this child.' 

To which the godfather, also the father, replied in a clear 
and intelligible voice : 'Verbena Camellia Stephanotis.' He 
was a short man, with stooping shoulders, a broad forehead, 
and meditative eyes. When he had done this part of his 
duty, knowing that the clerk, as is usual in such cases, 
would do all the rest, his eyes departed from the situation, 
and went right through the church walls into some far 
distant place. In reahty, they were looking into his 
fernery, which was under glass about a mile and a half 
away. 

Now, the Priest was a masterful man, who scrupled not 
to restrain the unbridled sponsor by authority of the Church. 
Once, for instance, he refused to christen a child Judas 
Iscariot, even though his father was a professed total un- 
believer, and therefore expected every allowance.* ' On this 
occasion, also, he perceived that the proposed names were 
professional. He, therefore, changed the name by his own 



4 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

authority, and without asking the godfather's consent, to 

Vera Camilla. He entered these names in the book, and 

showed them to the parents. 

' It doesn't matter,' said the father ; ' I shall call her 

what I please.' In the end he never called her anything 

at all. 

' Vera Camilla,' said her mother. ' It's sweetly genteel.' 
' Vera,' said Aunt Eliza. ' Why, it's a name fit for any 

lady ! Verbenar, indeed ! You might as well have called 

the dear child OUyock.' 



II. 

Vera lived in the loveliest cottage ever seen — a cottage such 
as is sometimes provided for young lovers by a fairy — it 
seemed to be of one story, but there were really two small 
bedrooms in the two gables ; they had sloping sides, and 
just room enough for a bed and a chair and a looking-glass. 
The cottage was covered all over with climbing plants up 
to the very chimney ; Virginia creeper, wisteria, clematis, 
jessamine occupied each its own side or corner ; a passion 
flower held possession of the porch ; the lawn before the 
cottage was trim and neat — mown and rolled till it was as 
soft as velvet, and as smooth as silk. There were beds in 
which every kind of flower grew and flourished ; and in the 
background there were flowering shrubs, which blossomed, 
one or other, all the long year round. 

The household consisted of the girl and her father ; her 
mother now lying not far off. The father, always a medita- 
tive man, was entirely absorbed in his profession, and talked 
of nothing but his plants. He spoke of them as a school- 
master speaks of his pupils. He recognised promise, but 
experience taught him to look for disappointment. He 
knew the temptations and the dangers which beset the 
vegetable kingdom ; their manners and customs, the failings 
and weaknesses of his plants. Of these things he spoke, and 
he was unable to speak or to think of anything beside. Did 
his daughter want anything ? What should she want, living 
in a most beautiful and spacious garden, planted with every 
tree, shrub, and flower that will flourish under the sky in 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 5 

Northern Loudou ? All day loug he was engaged with his 
llowers ; iu the evening he went to his club at the tavern. 
His daughter, therefore, saw him only at meals, where he 
mostly took his food in silence. 

The cottage looked out upon the lawn, and therefore 
commanded a view of the great iron gates on the left, and 
in front the broad gravel road which led to the Ground, and 
on the right the Ground itself — not a park, or a play-ground, 
or a place of recreation— but the Ground. During the hours 
when the Ground was used, the girl always sat with her 
back to the window, as though the view displeased her. 
She had very early contracted this habit, and now continued 
it, though she no longer felt the least dislike to the view 
from the window, or to the panorama of those who marched 
past in order to use the Ground. 

The iron gates opened upon the high-road, now deserted, 
though in the old days it had been day and night covered 
with carts, waggons, stage coaches, carriages, and droves of 
cattle. Now the tramp limped painfully along, or the young 
London clerk, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, rolled 
swiftly along upon his bicycle. Otherwise the road was 
deserted save for those who drove (for nobody walked) to 
the Ground. 

About ten o'clock in the morning the business and activity 
of the day began, and continued without pause until the 
afternoon, when it stopped. At five o'clock the gates were 
closed. Then Vera had the Ground all to herself. 

The business of the day began, and continued, with a 
procession. Sometimes it was a procession of many vehicles, 
but generally of no more than three. First, there came an 
Ark with a treasure chest in it, and that so precious that 
it was covered all over with flowers. Next two carriages 
followed, drawn by black horses, and filled with people, who 
sat bolt upright when anybody was looking, and stuck out 
their chins with pride at their own respectability. The 
procession testified to the Family greatness. It is not often 
that the Family, which is for the most part an invisible 
unit, can illustrate its own greatness — in fact, this is nearly 
the only function which can serve that purpose. The pro- 
cession entered the gates, and drove slowly past the cottage, 
where the occupants of the carriages were often disappointed 
at seeing not the face, but the back and the shoulders of a 



6 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

girl. That anyone should have so little curiosity as not 
to turn round ard estimate the respectability of a Family ! 

The carriages rolled on ; they stopped before a small 
building, where ceremonies were conducted. When these 
were finished the people came away, but without their 
treasure. They came away, got into the carriages, and 
drove away briskly. Not far from the iron gates is the 
tavern known as the ' Fox and Grapes ' : here there is a 
large room, with a comfortable fire, for the reception of 
visitors. The tavern is famous, to those who use the Ground, 
for the most sympathetic of all drinks. It is unsweetened, 
except with lump sugar, according to taste, and is taken 
with hot water. 

All the morning long one procession followed another. 
They were all exactly alike, except that sometimes there was 
a longer following of carriages. Vera heard them pass, but 
she never looked round. 

The Ground, in fact, was a cemetery in the West Finchley 
Eoad, the cemetery of a great London parish ; a large park, 
covering many acres, laid out in flower-beds, lawns, gravelled 
walks, trees and shrubs, so that in spring, summer, and 
autumn it is a very lovely garden ; and even in winter it is 
not without its beauty. Among the flower-beds and the 
shrubs lie in rows — row after row, miles of rows — the graves 
of the dead. Most of them have headstones ; many have 
broken pillars, crosses, square tombs, polished granite slabs, 
little columns planted with flowers. There were legends 
and epitaphs on these monuments. There is a certain 
monotony about the epitaphs of London cemeteries. Mostly, 
to those who read between the lines, they run as follows : 

' Sacred to the memory of A. B., who lived seventy years and did 
nothing worthy of remembrance. He was a sincere and consistent 
Christian, always horribly afraid of going to Heaven, and quite 
certain that no one would send him anywhere else. He thought 
of nothing but money, and he made a little, but not what he had a 
right to expect. He carried on his aifairs to tlie end without being 
publicly disgraced. Every Sunday morning he went to church, and 
during the rest of the day he feasted. His family, who quarrelled 
over the division, speak of him no longer, and when his children 
die he will be as much forgotten as any Early Briton. This stone 
is erected to the perpetuation of his imperishable memory.' 

The population of the place, although the Ground has 
only been opened for thirty years, is a quarter of a million. 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 7 

The Ground docs not belong to a parish where men of 
letters, art, or science Uve ; and there is not one of all this 
immense multitude whose works survive to continue his 
name for another generation. 

When the processions of the day were over, the great gates 
closed, the chapel locked, and the Croquemorts gone. Vera 
had the place to herself, and could wander about the paths. 
She knew every part of the cemetery ; in one corner the 
little bit of coppice left uncleared, in another the two or 
three apple-trees still remaining — remnant of an orchard ; 
the part of the Ground not yet laid out, covered with long 
bents and darnel and coarse grass, and the hedge beyond 
this lield where she gathered blackberries in autumn, and 
roses and honeysuckle in June. 

She wandered alone about the great silent place in the 
summer evenings. Long after the sun went down her 
white figure among the white tombs shone ghostly in the 
twilight. 

She never went anywhere ; her life was wholly spent 
within these walls. Half a mile up the road there was a 
school where she had learned certain accomplishments 
which were of little use to her because she seldom read 
anything and never wrote. She made no friends : ther§ is 
a certain prejudice attached to one resident in a cemetery ; 
it is awkward to give a cemetery as your permanent address 
— some little odium attaches to any otiice connected with 
such an institution. Vera, therefore, had no friends. Other 
girls go about and see things, they have amusements ; Vera 
went nowhere. Other girls, again, get a little excitement 
and change when they put on their best clothes and go to 
church. Vera did not go to church. The reason was, not 
that superiority of intellect which shuts the church door to 
so many young ladies of the day, but simply because her 
father considered that, when you have church and chapel 
services going on every day, the necessities of the human 
case are moi'e than met. Between the time when Vera left 
school, and the beginning of this history, a period of two 
years passed away. That is to say, for two years the girl 
lived at the gates of the cemetery, and went nowhere else 
except to the row of suburban shops near the school, where 
she bought the things wanted for her housekeeping. 

To a girl, almost a child, living thus alone among the 



8 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

tombs, with burials going on all day long, with no friends, 
no outside world except a long deserted road, life may come 
to seem like an endless Danse Macahrc — a dance of death, 
a pageant of death. To this place, hither, must all be 
brought ; it is the universal end. What was the outside 
world engaged upon all the time ? Clearly, she concluded, 
undertakery. Some made coffins ; some coffin - plates, 
handles, ornaments, linings, shrouds ; some made black 
carriages ; some black coats, and black frocks ; some were 
told off to read the service appointed ; the head undertaker 
was the Chief Minister of State ; nothing was regarded but 
the future occupation of the Ground ; the chief object in 
saving money, was to provide for a respectable procession. 
Life was all death ; clothes, nothing but a sign of mourning; 
clergymen, chaplains to cemeteries; religion, an assurance 
to the bereft ; everything beautiful was intended for nothing 
but the adornment of the permanent home. 

I do not say that Vera put all these thoughts into words 
— young girls do not formulate their thoughts ; language 
cannot clothe them — but they assumed this colour and 
complexion. The cemetery was all she really knew. Per- 
haps, because everybody who came to the ground was 
clothed in black. Vera, with a kind of instinct rather than 
by protest, dressed always in white. No one would have 
interfered with her if she had chosen yellow, but she chose 
white. Black belonged to the processions. I31ack belonged 
to the ladies who came afterwards, sometimes for as much 
as six months later, with flowers. The black spots moving 
about among the green graves and the flower-beds in this 
beautiful garden offended the girl's eyes. Therefore, she 
wore white ; in winter white flannel, and in summer white 
stuff. She carried a basket, and a pair of garden scissors, 
and she went about attending to the flowers of the forgotten 
graves, those for which there were no longer any mourners 
to pay the gardener. She was a tall, thin slip of a girl, 
about sixteen years of age, as yet with little of the womanly 
figure ; her fair hair abundant hung unconfined except by 
a ribbon ; her blue eyes were large and serious ; her face 
was grave ; her very step was serious ; she neither laughed 
nor sang, nor danced as she went along, although she was 
so young — you see, it checks laughter and singing to remem- 
ber that, though a quarter of a million may be listening, 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 9 

they cannot reply even with au echo. I read once of a child 
brought up in a nunnery — one of the austere houses where 
the sisters dig their own graves, and where the days are for 
ever cheered by the sound of the knell of the passing-bell. 
Then I remembered Vera. As that cloister child, so was 
Vera. 

III. 

The ties of kinship are less respected on certain social levels 
than on others. The English family very easily breaks up 
into separate pieces : brothers and sisters go their own way, 
they scatter ; if they remain in the same place they quarrel; 
children who should be cousins know each other no longer ; 
those who get up in the world are too proud to inquire after 
those who remain down below ; those who are below are 
too proud to intrude upon those who are up. Family pride, 
therefore, has its uses. Vera's father, for instance, remained 
head gardener of the new cemetery. His brother, though 
this he did not know, because he never read any newspapers, 
was Prime Minister of New South Wales ; another brother, 
also unknown to him, was a Silver King, and controlled I 
know not what. He remained. Had he gone abroad, as 
his brothers did, he would have become Botanist to a Colony; 
Professor of Botany in some Colonial University ; Fellow of 
the Eoyal Society. As it was, he remained at home, and 
was a gardener whose thoughts never travelled beyond his 
plants. 

But even at home one may rise. Vera had an aunt — her 
mother's sister— her Aunt Eliza. She, by reason of her 
husband's great success, had climbed to a dizzy height, even 
to a house in Bedford Square, and a carriage. Aunt Eliza's 
husband, indeed, was none other than a certain well-known, 
far-famous purveyor in the City. It would be hard, indeed, 
if so eminent a citizen should not have his carriage, and his 
house in Bedford Square beautifully furnished, and on 
Sundays his dinner-parties at three in the afternoon. But 
Aunt Eliza had well-nigh forgotten the existence of her 
niece. Her sister was dead ; her sister's husband was 
gardener to a cemetery ; there was a child. Prosperity 
makes one acquainted with other prosperous persons ; 
people who have a good concern in the City cannot remain 



lo VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

on intimate terms witli cemetery gardeners. Do not blame 
Aunt Eliza ; 'tis the way of the world. She had not called 
at the lodge for fourteen years. 

One day, in leafy May, the laburnum and the lilacs being 
in full flower, there entered the gates a procession of great 
length and magnificence, with such waving plumes and such 
a pile of flowers as denoted respect to success. Evidently 
a prince in Israel. Vera, sitting in her room with her back 
to the window, was conscious only of prolonged blackness 
grating over the gravel. 

When everything was over, and the mourners were re- 
turning to their carriages, one of them, a portly dame of 
benevolent aspect, walking beside her husband — 'twas he 
of the great provision shop — whispered : ' John, I must stay 
behind and see him, if it's only for poor Amelia's sake. Tell 
them I am staying to see the grave of a friend. You go on, 
and I will get home by myself, somehow.' 

When the last carriage had passed through the gates, 
Aunt Eliza opened the door of the lodge. 

' Goodness gracious !' she cried, ' I suppose you're Vera? 
Lord! how you're grown! A young woman, I declare; 
and a pretty one, too ! Give me a kiss, my dear. I'm 
your aunt Eliza, come for a funeral ! Well, to be sure 1 
Why, it's a pretty room and all, though, of course, one 
wouldn't expect to find you sitting on a cofifin-lid. And 
where's your father, my dear ?' 

When at last she went away, she held out both hands, 
and kissed her niece kindly. 

' My dear,' she said, ' it's perfectly dreadful to think of a 
child like you — a big girl, too — sitting among the tombs all 
the while, like as if you were possessed, seeing nobody, and 
talking to nobody, and going nowhere. It's enough to make 
one melancholy mad ! You shall come to see us. John 
and me will make you welcome. Look here, now, Vera, 
my dear- — I remember when your father wanted to call you 
Sweet William, or some such name — you come next 
Saturday afternoon. Come early, and I'll get you some 
pretty things to wear, though white is always becoming, I 
will say that. In the evening we'll go to the theatre, and 
see my favourite, Nina Cazalet ; Sunday morning, if it's 
fine, we always drive out. There's open house for dinner, 
and the rest of the day spent with such laughing and talk- 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS ii 

ing as you never heard. Ugh !' she shuddered ; ' you can't 
laugh in a cemetery. That's right, you'll come. Don't let 
on about the Ground, you know. In a year or two, perhaps, 
when the young man comes along, you can break it gently. 
That's settled, then, and I'm glad I came — truly glad 
I am.' 



IV. 

A PLACE filled with people; the women in lovely dresses, 
smiling and talking, the men as animated and as happy as 
custom permits. Bright light everywhere ; a band playing 
sweet music ; a curtain painted with girls and young men ; 
flowers, dances, and sunshine ; the air chai'ged with the 
perfume of joy and youth. Vera sat beside her aunt in the 
front row of the dress-circle, her eyes wide open, her lips 
trembling, her hands trembling, her whole frame tingling 
with the wonder and the novelty of it. 

Then the curtain drew up, and for three hours Vera was 
ravished away. The theatre existed no longer ; she was not 
sitting before a stage ; she was looking on, unseen, at fairy- 
land. She saw, for the first time, youth and the happiness 
of youth ; the joy of being beautiful, the joy of being loved, 
the joy of living and wooing, the joy of sunshine, the joy of 
life ; for the first time she felt that yearning for joys un- 
attainable which glorifies youth, though it too often makes 
that time unhappy. She heard the gospel of joy. When 
the house laughed she felt as if something jarred. It was as 
if she was recalled rudely to the actual world. The bell 
would be tolling next. She looked on gravely, wondering. 
When the curtain fell between the acts she sighed and 
gasped, and the tears came into her eyes. When her aunt 
spoke to her, she replied faintly, because her mind was with 
the play. 

Among the company was an actress who took the leading 
part. To this girl she seemed like a being of whose exist- 
ence she had never even dreamed. She was young, she was 
beautiful : she had a sweet face and a sweet voice, her lips 
were always smiling, her eyes beamed with happiness and 
with mirth; in the play all the men loved her and courted 
her, in the house the young men clapped their hands for joy 
whenever she appeared. She was the Queen, the Goddess, 



12 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

the Patron Saint of love and happiness and beauty. Vera 
followed her as she moved upon the stage ; her carriage, her 
gestures, her voice, her eyes, fascinated the girl. 

When all was over they came home through the lamplit 
streets in a hansom. Vera went to bed too much excited to 
sleep ; happy just to lie and recall the evening, and to see 
again in imagination the actress who had charmed her with 
her simple spell and pretence of happiness. 

On Monday she went home, arriving with the second pro- 
cession of the day. All the day, all the week, she walked 
about restlessly ; in the evening she wandered in the 
Ground : but she avoided the inhabited portion. She had 
to pass through the graves in order to get to the unused 
field; she shuddered as she passed, because her head was 
filled with a yearning after what she had seen upon the 
stage. These poor dead people had been taken, perhaps, 
from such a world of joy — a world where the undertaker is 
not seen. Only in the far corner of the field did she feel 
able to give herself up to the thought and recollection of the 
theatre. 

When Saturday came she did a strange thing. First, she 
made up a bouquet of white flowers, then she wrote a little 
note and pinned it among the flowers : ' From Vera. I love 
you. If you will let me love you, carry my bouquet.' She 
tied up her bouquet in silver paper, and, after tea, at six 
o'clock, she took her jacket and her hat, and went out of the 
gates and turned down the road in the direction of London. 
Her father was gone to his club. He would not get home 
until ten, and she always went to bed at nine. He would 
not know. 

It was nearly eight o'clock when she arrived at the 
theatre. She boldly walked in through the crush of the 
people who were crowding in, and asked the ticket-taker 
how she was to convey her flowers to Miss Nina Cazalet. 
He directed her to the stage-door, where she found no diffi- 
culty in sending in her gift. Then she returned to the front 
of the house. Here she made the discovery that dress-circle 
seats were seven shillings a-piece, and she had but two 
shillings in her purse. With this modest sum, however, she 
found a place in the pit, and sat there, with beating heart, 
until the curtain rose. 

Alas ! Nina Cazalet came in without her bouquet, and 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STKPIIANOTIS 13 

her heart felt as heavy as lead. Then she reflected that in 
such a piece the actress could not carry a bouquet. This 
thought relieved her. Perhaps the actress would make 
some sign to her ; but no sign came. Then she remembered 
that the actress could not possibly know her by sight ; and 
again she took courage. Finally she surrendered herself to 
the magic of the piece, and once more lost all consciousness 
while the comedy was played. The theatre over, she came 
away. The street was full of people, pushing and shouting. 
Vera stood hesitating. Somebody spoke to her. She turned 
and walked away. She walked through crowded slums and 
through deserted streets. No one molested her ; she had 
no fear. She came out at length beyond the houses into the 
long dark road, stretching north, between hedges. All the 
way she noticed nothing. Her brain was filled with the 
voice of the actress, and with her face, and with the magic 
of her grace, and with the joy, unlike anything ever known 
on earth, which this sweet white witch poured into the 
hearts of those who sat at her feet. 

It was a fine night ; the stars were out. The lilac filled 
the air as Vera turned into the lodge garden. She crept 
noiselessly upstairs. She opened her window and looked 
out ; she could see the white lines of headstones and of 
tombs. 

' Oh,' she thought, ' did they ever know — those poor 
things, the dead — -that there are places where people do 
nothing but laugh and sing, and are always happy ?' 



Miss Nina Cazalet sat in her room under the hands of a 
dresser. As one who entirely realized how much the attrac- 
tions of a woman are assisted and heightened by art, she 
generally took the keenest interest in every detail of her 
stage toilette. This evening she was passive and silent. 
This queen of joy, at whose presence the clouds of care 
rolled back, was herself gloomy. A sense of impending mis- 
fortune hung over her. She held in her hand a letter, which 
she had read twenty times, and each time with a heavy 
sigh. It was from her lover. ' Choose,' it said, almost in 
so many plain words, ' choose between your lover and your 



14 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

profession. Give up the stage or give up the lover.' A 
dreadful alternative. She would have been happy with 
both, but with one only of the two she would be wretched. 
How could she give up her lover '? how could she give up 
her art? 'Choose,' said her lover; 'I will await your 
choice.' 

' Something dreadful is going to happen,' she said to her 
dresser. ' Last night I had terrible dreams. I've had this 
letter for three days, and every time I try tq answer, it I am 
held back. I cannot answer it. A cruel letter ! What 
has made him write it ?' ■ 

' Don't think about it till the piece is over.' 
' No — not till the piece is over.' Nina, sat upright and 
nerved herself. ' I've had such a frightful headache all day 
long — I can hardly drag my limbs. But I shall manage, 
somehow. Oh !' she started nervously, ' who is that knock- 
ing at the door ?' 

It was something tied up in silver paper. Nina tore it off 
impatiently. 

' Always the same,' she said. ' Every Saturday for the 
last two months. Who is Vera, I wonder?' She opened 
the note. ' Always the same words : " I love you. If you 
will let me love you, wear these flowers." They are beauti- 
ful flowers. Who is Vera?' She sat up and looked at the 
writing. The characters were square, and almost childish. 
' Mysterious Vera ! I am haunted by her. Well, I will 
find out who she is. Out of curiosity I will wear her flowers 
to-night. Let her love me? Well, there are not many 

women who want to love me. As for the men Put the 

flowers here — they are very pretty.' 

The toilette was finished. The orchestra played the last 
bars, the bell rang, the curtain rose up ; the actress, with 
glowing cheeks, smiling lips, and bright eyes, ran upon the 
stage, while the house rang with cheers. Oh ! who could 
hope to be as happy and as careless as this godlike creature ? 
She carried away all who sat in that great house — all, even 
the poor dressmakers' drudges in the gallery were rapt and 
ravished out of themselves, and for three short hours lived 
in a paradise of song and happiness and merry carelessness. 
A witch ! a sorceress ! But a white witch, a benevolent, 
kindly witch, who used her power for the happiness of the 
world. 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPIIANOTLS 15 

When she appeared upon the stage the young men gasped 
and drew their breath, and many changed colour, being 
victims of Love the mocker, who fills young men's hearts with 
yearning for the unattainable. And the girls all murmured 
' Oh!' with a long sigh of admiration and of envy. In the 
front row of the pit there sat a young girl. She, at the sight 
of Nina, turned first red and then pale. She was quite alone, 
which is unusual in the pit — or any other part of the house 
— even for older girls. She rose, and asked those behind 
her kindly to make room. She passed out, and did not 
return. 

It was half-past eleven when Nina drove home. She 
lived alone, save for her maid and her servants, and had a 
first-floor flat in Victoria Street. Her evening's work had 
been too much for her ; she climbed the stair with difficulty, 
dragging her limbs, and leaning on the balustrade ; her head 
reeled ; her eyes ached. 

She opened her door and went into her dining-room. The 
supper was laid ; the lamp burned low ; the windows were 
wide open for the warm air of July ; the lamps of the street 
lighted the room. At the open window sat a figure dressed 
in white. When Nina entered, the figure rose. It was a 
girl. Nina saw that she was very young, and that her eyes 
were beautiful. 

' My dear,' she said, surprised, 'who are you? And 
what are you doing in my room ? Unless ' — her eyes wan- 
dered — ' unless you are a ghost.' 

' I am Vera,' said the girl. 

' You are Vera ! Who is Vera ? Oh ! I remember.' 

' You wore my flowers — you will let me love you. Oh !' 
— the girl caught her hand and kissed it — ' you are so 
lovely ! you are so happy ! I have never seen anyone so 
happy.' 

Nina reeled and caught the back of a chair. 

' This is some dream,' she said. ' I am in a delirium. I, 
happy ? And with this letter in my pocket ? You are come 
to mock me.' 

She caught her burning forehead wdth her hands, and 
sank senseless on the floor. The fever which had been 
hovering about her all day long seized her in its strong 
clutch and held her fast, so that for three long weeks she 
knew nothing. 



i6 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

The papers next day announced, with great concern, that 
Miss Cazalet was taken ill with some kind of fever. Every- 
body began to talk about the bad ventilation and the smells 
of the theatre. Next day, and for many days afterwards, 
the street was blocked with the carriages of those who came 
to inquire after the actress. They drove and they walked ; 
they left cards, or thjy humbly took an answer and walked 
away. Most of them brought flowers ; Covent Garden was 
cleared out every morning ; the Parcel Post brought boxes 
of flowers from all parts of the country ; there were flowers 
enough to furnish the weapons for a carnival. But the 
recipient of all this sympathy lay unconscious on her bed, 
revealing to her nurse all the secrets of her heart. 

What the papers did not know was that, by the happiest 
accident in the world. Miss Nina Cazalet had obtained the 
services of a nurse more devoted, more watchful, more 
jealous, than even the most scientific sister in the most 
difficult case of the most dangerous ward. For Vera 
stayed. 

VI. 

' I don't believe you care a straw what becomes of Vera,' 
said Aunt Eliza. ' What ? She stays away for three weeks, 
and you never so much as ask where she is.' 

' I thought she was with you,' replied the head gardener. 

' Nothing of the kind.' 

' Where is she, then ?' 

' Staying with an actress. How she got to know her — 
however she came to think of it — how in the world — but 
there's no sounding the artfulness of a girl.' 

' An actress ?' 

' Oh, the girl's in good hands ; I will say that. An 
actress, I said. 'Tis none other than Miss Nina Cazalet 
herself. I've been to the house ; she lives in a most beauti- 
ful flat. The furniture is finicking; but, then, you can't 
expect actresses to furnish like plain folk. Finicking, but 
pretty. The girl came out to see me. Nina Cazalet was 
ill, and Vera is nursing her. She was very short with me 
when I wanted to know how she got there ; but never mind, 
some day she'll tell me. Well, now, I asked her what 
salary she was to have. Nothing at all. Then 1 asked her 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 17 

where she took her meals. If she'd Hved with the servants 
I would have carried her off there aud theu, I would. But 
she doesn't. Boards, I understand, with the family ; 
treated like them, has what the others have, diet unlimited, 
and so far as I could learn, pudding every day. Wlien 
Nina Cazalet gets better I shall go and have it out with her. 
Meantime, I think Vera's a lucky girl, and you ought to be 
thankful, little as you care.' 

' The girl,' said the gardener, ' is living with the family ; 
and there's pudding every day. Of course, a growing girl 
requires pudding ; stimulates the growth, like a little made 

earth. She's safe, and in good hands. In that case ' 

His eyes went out into space again. 



VII. 

The only man in all London, not counting those who never 
go to West End theatres, who did not know that Nina 
Cazalet was ill, was the very same young man who had 
written that letter. Why had he written it ? Why do 
young men ever write cruel letters to young ladies ? It is 
the inexorable pater. When the pater is poor, the young 
man does what he likes without the formality of asking 
permission ; nor does the pater who has nothmg to leave 
expect to be asked. Both are happy, therefore, and should 
bless their poverty. This young man, unfortunately, had a 
pater who w^as rich, and, moreover, had absolute power 
over his money, which had been ' made.' Oh, the ingenuity 
of man w^hich makes money, securities, shares, banknotes, 
gold, silver and bronze out of nothing — just nothing at all ! 
See him in youth — naked, his hands empty. See him again 
fifty years later, laden with the money he has made. What 
feat of jugglery, what marvel of science, can compare with 
this transformation of nothing into everything ? 

' My son,' said pater the maker, ' I hear nothing but good 
of this girl. I shall not oppose your marriage, because there 
is no nonsense in your case about marrying beneath you. 
Yet, with your prospects, you might have made a beginning 
of family connection. I make only one condition : that she 
gives up the stage. I can't have a daughter-in-law acting 
every night. I am sure you will acknowledge that I am 

2 



1 8 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

reasonable. If you marry her without, you will be placed 
in the ignoble condition of one who lives upon his wife's 
earnings.' 

Therefore the young man wrote that letter. He put it as 
kindly as he could, but he put it plainly, thinking, in his 
folly, that he had asked a small thing. And he had as yet 
received no answer. Had he looked at the papers he would 
have read that his mistress was ill ; had he gone to the club 
he would have heard the news. But he did neither. He 
sat in his private room in a Bond Street Hotel waiting for a 
letter which came not ; he roamed the street, melancholy, 
asking himself why he had been such a fool as to expect 
that such a girl could possibly prefer such a man as himself, 
and such a humdrum life as he had to offer her, to the 
excitement of the stage and the practice of her art. Young 
men often ask themselves such questions ; but the reply is 
never satisfactory. Why was I such a fool ? Echo replies, 
'Such a fool.' How could I have been such an ass? 
Another echo, ' Such an ass.' No; it is never a satisfactory 
reply. 

' A young lady, sir, wishes to see you.' The waiter made 
this announcement. ' Won't send up her name, sir.' 

' A young lady ? No name ?' 

' Quite young, sir. Child, almost. Says you must see 
her.' 

' Well, let her come up then.' 

A girl dressed all in white stood in the doorway looking 
curiously at him. Quite a young girl, taU and angular, long 
fair hair falling down her back ; big blue eyes. And she 
gazed upon him, standing there, while you might have 
counted ten. 

* I am afraid,' said the youth, ' that I do not recol- 
lect ' 

' No, you have never seen me before.' 

' Why do you look at me so curiously then ?' 

' I was wondering as I came along what kind of man you 
were. Because either you must be the best man that ever 
lived for her to love you, or it is a great condescension on 
her part — and perhaps a great pity and shame and her 
friends ought to interfere,' she added, without so much as a 
comma. 

' But who are you ?' 



VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTLS 19 

' I can 8oe from your face that it isn't for your cleverueBS 
that she loves you.' 

' Who loves me ?' 

' And the letter in my pocket proves that it isn't for your 
goodness, for only a foolish or a bad young man could write 
such a letter.' 

The young man changed colour. Then he threw himself 
into a chair. 

' Well,' he said, 'I suppose you will tell me presently who 
you are and what you want.' 

' A man who was not foolish, and was good when such a 
lady as Nina ' 

' As Nina !' He sprang to his feet. ' You come from 
Nina ?' 

' When such a lady condescended to love him, would be 
so much honoured that he would ask for her conditions and 
not lay down his own. Oh, to make her happy who every 
evening jnakes hundreds of people happy, and sends them 
home full of lovely thoughts, ought to be happiness enough 
for any man. But you — oh ! you ! — ^you dare to make con- 
ditions. A great genius is in love with you, and you order 
her to give up her work. You pretend to love her, and 
you ' Here Vera's eyes overflowed, and her voice choked. 

' You come from Nina ? Tell me, have you a message — a 
letter — from her ? Who are you '?' 

' My name is Vera ; but you do not know me. I am stay- 
ing with Nina. I am never going to leave her, whatever 
happens. Never, mind, never.' 

She spoke with great firmness and resolution. The young 
man gazed at her bewildered. 

' Nina is ill,' she w^ent on. 

'Nina? 111?' 

' She has been ill for three weeks. All the time she has 
been off her head, and has been talking about you. That is 
why I have come here.' 

' Nina ? Ill ?' 

' She has come to herself again, and she has left off 
talking about you ; that was the first sign by which we 
knew ' 

'Nina? 111?' 

' And I've come about that letter of yours. Here it is. 
I've borrowed it, but I must take it back.' 



20 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

' What am I to do ?' 

' Do you want to make her get well, or would you rather 
kill her? "Well, then, sit down and write her another 
letter.' 

' What am I to say ?' 

' You are to say you withdraw this letter, and that you 
are truly sorry and ashamed for writing it, and that you 
humbly beg her pardon for insulting her with such a con- 
dition, and hope she will forgive you. I wouldn't, if I were 
Nina ; but perhaps she will, because she is a great deal 
better than all other women put together.' 

He sat down obediently, his face flushed, his hands trem- 
bling. He wrote rapidly, covering the four pages. 

' There,' he said, ' give her that. Tell her — tell her if my 
life would be of any help to her, I would give her that.' 

Vera read the letter without asking permission. Since it 
concerned Nina's health and happiness, why not ? 

'Thank you,' she said. ' It looks as if you were really 
sorry ; of course, you ought to be. I dare say she will 
forgive you, and let you come and see her. I will write to 
you.' 

' No — no ; I will call — I will call this afternoon. I shall 
be able to see you, at least.' 

Vera turned to go. 

' Stay !' he cried ; ' you think I have been a brute.' 

' I do,' she replied, with the candour of an unspoiled 
soul. 

' You don't understand. I have nothing in the world 
except my allowance from my father, who is rich. I have 
no profession, and no way of making money. He allows me 
to marry Nina only on the condition that she leaves the 
stage. If she does not, he will disinherit me.' 

' Is that all ?' asked Vera the unworldly. ' You would 
rather keep the money than Nina? What a lover !' 

I know not where she got her experience or theory of 
love, but this is what she said, with fine contempt in her 
eyes. 

' Again you don't understand. I should then be in the 
despicable position of a man who lives upon his wife.' 

' Why ? Are you too proud to do something ? I would 
mow the lawns and sweep up the leaves rather than do 
nothing.' 



]'ERBENA CAMELLIA STEPUASOTIS 21 

' I am not too proud ; I am only too ignorant.' 

' Would you like to be an under-gardener ?' asked Vera, 
thinking of her own possible patronage. 

He shook his head. 

' What can you do ?' 

' 1 can do many things, but nothing that I can make into 
money. I can shoot, I can fish, I can play games, I can 
ride ' 

A happy thought— nay, an inspiration — flashed across the 
girl's mind. She had often seen a cavalcade ride along the 
road— a troop of half a dozen girls with one man, riding. 
He was their teacher. 

' Why don't you become a riding-master ?' 

'Eh?' The young man started. 'Why not? I could 
teach riding. I will. I cannot live upon Nina's salary. 
Tell her, child, that her husband must be independent. 
Tell her that if she can stoop to a riding-master ' 

' I will tell her,' said Vera. 



VIII. 

A FOKTNiGHT later Nina lay on a couch beside the window. 
She was dressed— she was rapidly getting better. People 
had left off caUing ; there were no more bulletins ; the pro- 
cession of flowers had ceased to encumber the adjacent 
roads. She was better, and she was going to take a long 
summer's rest at the seaside. At her feet, in a low chair, 
sat Vera, gravely watching in case she might want anything. 

' Child,' said Nina, who had been silent, ' he came here 
this morning while you were out. Nobody could be kinder. 
He is quite fixed about becoming a riding-master.' 

' You laughed again yesterday afternoon,' said Vera, ' I 
heard you.' 

' Did we laugh ? You thought I was never going to laugh 
any more. What can I do for you, Vera ? Oh, my dear 
child ! what can I do for you, who have done so much for 
me? You dragged me back from the jaws of death; you 
have given me life again — and my lover again. What can 
I give you?' 

' Why,' said Vera, ' you first showed me what happiness 
means.' 



22 VERBENA CAMELLIA STEPHANOTIS 

' I will play to you, dear.' She rose, and went to the 
piano. ' When I am very, very happy — quite happy — I 
don't want to talk or to laugh, but to play soft music. 
People only laugh and make merry, because they want to 
be happy. It is a sign. Old people do not laugh, because 
there is no more happiness to be hoped ; and happy people 
never laugh, because they have got all they want. Let me 
play to you.' 

She played for a quarter of an hour, softly. Then she 
began to talk while she played. 

' I shall be so ha-ppy that laughing and singing will 
become a burden to me. They are the prelude, you know 
— only the prelude — like the overture to the play. That is 
why, when you first knew me, you were so attracted. You 
were made to expect something, which excited and pleased 
you. There is only one kind of happiness in the world, and 
I have it — thanks to you. Vera, thanks to you !' 

She turned her music-stool, and held out her arms. 

' Child ! You are nothing but a bag of bones and big 
blue eyes. That is because you have spent yourself in 
saving me. Now I shall make you grow fat and strong. 
Vera ' 

'Well, Nina?' 

' You have told me everything — all about your father and 
your aunt, who is a dear, good soul ; but there is one thing 
you have never told me — where did you get all those beauti- 
ful flowers ?' 

Vera shuddered. Three weeks before she would not have 
shuddered. 

' I took them all,' she said, ' from the new-made graves.' 



THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 
CHAPTER I. 

THE LAMENT OF DIVES. 

' Is it really five years, Kit, since last we met ? I suppose 
it may be so long ; but I have left oft' counting Time.' 

' Why should you count Time, dear Dives ? You have 
only to enjoy all the time there is. You can make the most 
of every moment. When it is finished you can live in the 
next. For the rich, time crawls. It is by those who work 
that Time must be counted, because in the space he allows 
to them they must make their money. This is the reason 
why, to some of us, he flies, he gallops. Lord ! how short 
is the day when it is spent in work ! What says the song, 
my own song? 

' " Life is long — for those who toil not ; 
Only long — for those who play." ' 

There were two young men sitting in a set of Chambers. 
The place was simple Pall Mall : the time was two in the 
afternoon : the season was June. The day was very hot 
— everybody remembers the great heats of June in that 
present year of grace : the windows were thrown open for 
the air, and from the street below came up the continual 
rolling of the cabs and the tread of many feet. 

They had been lunching together ; the table was not yet 
cleared, but they had left it : one of the two had taken the 
largest and easiest chair in the room, and was now curled 
up in it with every outward indication of complete physical 



24 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

comfort. The other was standing at the empty fireplace, 
leaning against the mantel-shelf. 

The young man leaning against the mantel-shelf was he 
who had left off counting Time. He was the tenant of the 
Chambers— Denis Stirling by name — and he should have 
been distinctly, even enviably, good-looking. In fact, he 
was possessed of regular features, good eyes, light hair, and 
comely limbs ; but his handsome face was marred by a 
cloud of chronic discontent, and his speech by a weariness 
which was not at all like the Nineteenth Century Lassitude 
of which we used to hear so much and now hear nothing. 
That has gone : it has retired into the Limbo of old 
Fashions, Fads, Hobbies, Affectations, and Pretences by 
which small souls seek to seem great. This weariness was 
not, with Denny Stirling, an affectation at all ; profound 
discontent really possessed his soul. A young gentleman 
ought not to be always grumpy, particularly a young gentle- 
man who has everything that, in the opinion of other young 
men, ought to remove grumpiness. It is, indeed, a condi- 
tion of mind which sits ill upon all youth, even on the very 
stonebroke. In the days, not long ago, when young men 
of superior intellect and the Higher Culture showed, by an 
air of melancholy, the burden laid upon them by the mere 
presence of the uncultured, they all with one consent 
avoided grumpiness. One could stand apart, chin in air : 
one could be melancholy in falsetto : one could sprawl ; but 
one could not be grumpy. 

The other young man, he who lay low in the easy-chair 
and purred with mere physical ease and comfort, was in 
figure stout, even round : in complexion ruddy : he had 
short brown hair : his nose was broad ; this is always an 
excellent sign in man, and betokens good fellowship : his 
eyes, which were protected by spectacles — not a pince-nez, 
but plain outspoken spectacles — gleamed behind those 
ornaments like unto the big Fiji cats' eyes : quite ordinary 
observers would have remarked that there lay in his eyes 
the light which poets call the twinkle, likening it unto the 
flickering of the stars. This is happily not uncommon 
among us. Cranks, faddists, hystericals, advocates of 
women's suffrage, and those who think to make the world 
wise and good by Acts of Parliament, cannot possibly have 



THE LAMENT OF DI\'ES 25 

it. Nature denies it to them. Bishops, however, are some- 
times endowed with the twinkle : and I have known Editors 
of comic papers to lack it. One can imagine a Pope with 
a twinkle ; but not the President of the United States. 
The Irish vote forbids it. The name of this young man 
was Cottcrel, and as, of his two Christian names, the one 
of which he was the less proud was Christopher, of course 
his friends always called him Kit. 

He sat up in his chair and poured out another glass of 
Champagne, which he held up to the light, murmuring 
softly, as if to himself, ' I love these beads, that rise out of 
nothing and bubble on the surface. They mean joy and 
idleness. Why cannot we always be idle and happy? 
Dives, you are idle, you should be happy. There is froth 
upon the tankard : there are bubbles in the soda ; but they 
are not the beads of the French vintage.' 

' Kit,' said the other impatiently, ' you talk as if you 
were still an undergraduate. How can a man of your age 
sing the praises of Champagne?' 

' In the matter of Champagne I am always an under- 
graduate. Denny, it was a happy chance that threw us 
together again to-day. The world is so big that we might 
never have met. Yet it is so small, especially at this end 
of it, that one is always meeting somebody. This is the 
narrow end — your end— the fat and toothsome end — ^where 
Champagne flows from all the aqueducts. My end is the 
Fleet Street end, which is lean and thirsty, and given to a 
cheap drink made, I am told, of an infusion of malt.' 

I give notice that those people who believe that what is 
called the Supernatural requires, even for its most remark- 
able developments, anything beyond the most commonplace 
surroundings, had better read no farther, unless, which is 
too seldom the case, they are prepared on the spot to 
change their convictions. As everybody knows, who has 
read the recent works of the more advanced thinkers, it is 
no longer the romantic surrounding that is wanted. Things 
most remarkable now take place daily under the most 
commonplace conditions. Things most unexpected are now 
developed in simple drawing-rooms— nay, one is told, in 
rooms of clubs. We no longer look to the Moated Grange, 



26 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

the Kuiued Abbey, the Deserted Churchyard, for spirits and 
their companions of the silent world. They come to us in 
our own houses and in broad daylight. It is, after all, only 
a return to the good old times. The Jinn was wont to sit 
upon the bare rocks by the sea-shore in the open day, 
rejoicing in the sun : he visited the fisherman in his hut at 
noontide : in the cool of the afternoon he walked, for all the 
world to see, under the shade of the trees in the Caliph's 
garden. It is therefore no new thing that the Other World 
should call, so to speak, upon the World of London. Is not 
the West End as good as Thibet ? Why should Arabia the 
Happy be preferred to Kensington the Comfortable ? 

No historian before myself has discovered that these con- 
descensions or advances, these offers of familiarity on the 
part of the Other World, occur regularly at intervals of 
about a hundred years, and always towards the close of a 
century. Amazing things are recorded of Alchemists, at 
the end of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth cen- 
turies. Again, at the great awakening of a hundred years 
ago there appeared prophets, clairvoyants, and mesmerists. 
At the present day, there are those who annihilate space : 
those who bring messages from the dead with the regularity 
of the telegraph department : those who practise palmistry 
and divination. Those w'ho lifted tables have retired in 
sulks. Therefore, the things which I have to describe need 
not be considered as in any way more remarkable than 
other things which daily happen under our very noses, and 
are witnessed by most credible spectators ; and as you will 
presently discover, they were neither remarkably new nor 
remarkably original. No reader of history expects things 
new and original. 

' But what are you doing, Kit ?' asked Denny. 

' I have been called to the Bar. I wish they hadn't called 
me, because the fees finished off all that was left. I am 
starving, Denny.' 

He looked up and laughed, with the glass in his hand. 
Bacchus himself, dressed in modern garments, might thus 
have looked and thus have laughed. 

' But you are fat. Kit ; fat, smiling, and apparently happy.' 

' Who would not smile over a bottle of champagne ? But 
I am starving, all the same. That is to say, I actually have 



THE LAMENT OF DIVES 27 

to work. Denny, my friend,' be proceeded solemnly, ' work 
is called the common lot ; it is a fatiguing lot. I work ' — 
he sighed — ' for such of the journals and organs and things 
as will have me. I don't get on very fast because ' — he 
yawned — ' I work so little. If I smile it is with au aching 
heart, because I abhor work.' 

' He abhors work !' Denny repeated it with wonder. 
' Why it seems to me as if there was nothing else in the 
whole world worth hanng.' 

' I have had, I own, ambitions. I would rise ; I would 
soar,' — he flapped his elbows and raised his feet off the 
cushions, — ' but this fat, foolish body of mine forbids. It 
iiill be fed with meat and drink, fumigated with tobacco, 
lapped in slumber in bed, and laid at rest in club chairs. It 
is a beast of a body. I could become a great novelist or a 
great dramatist but for this body. As it is, I have to 
remain the greater part of the day in idleness, and therefore 
in poverty. Sometimes — but never mind. And you ?' 

' I am still, as you said. Dives. I am a millionaire.' He 
said this with a face of the deepest gloom. ' Nothing more. 
I continue in great riches.' 

' Fie upon it for a troublesome complaint ! yet, methinks 
there are remedies.' 

' Not when one is so enormously rich as I am. Well, 
Kit, your poverty does you no harm, your laugh is as strong 
and genuine as ever. I suppose you still make up stories 
and tell them, and still write songs and sing them?' 

' I do. If I want them sung I must sing them myself, so 
I go to the club, and sing them there. And I make plays, 
and have to act them myself, if I want them acted. Tell 
me about yourself. You have been travelling. What else ? 
You look less cheerful, now I come to look at you, than a 
man should in your delightful position. Life — I quote from 
one of my unacted and unfinished comedies — is like this 
glass, full of bubbles. They rise and sparkle and disappear; 
yet they are delightful when we catch them. Why don't 
you sit and catch those bubbles? Go on, sweet Dives.' 

' I have nothing to tell at all. I've been travelling. The 
world is now full of hotels, and they are all exactly alike.' 

'If it's a good ])attern of hotel, why not ? Come now. 
Why not ?' 

' I have done nothing, and I never shall do anything. 



28 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

except receive my dividends, and spend some of them. 
That is all.' 

' The Emperor Domitian ended a similar career by catch- 
ing flies. You used to talk formerly, I remember, about 

certain responsibilities ' 

' Oh yes — yes! we used to talk.' The young man dropped 
his hands into his pockets as if they lived there. ' When 
we were young we used to talk a good deal of nonsense. It 
did no harm, and helped to pass the time. I've gone 
through those illusions.' 

' That seems unlucky. Now, for my part, I cherish every 
one of the illusions. Hang it, sir, if it were not for the dear 
old illusions — Love, Friendship, Unselfishness — do you 
suppose that anyone would take the trouble to read my 
novels when they come to be written, or to see my plays 
when they come to be acted ?' 

' If I employed any people, I might own to responsibilities. 
But I don't. They have converted the Works into a 
Company, and bought me out. If I had an estate and 
tenants I might feel responsibility ; but I have none. I do 
not possess an acre of land or a house anywhere. Nobody 
pays me rent ; nobody receives wages from me ; nobody 
curses me, and nobody blesses me. My money is all in 
funds and securities of that kind. I have no responsibilities 
at all — except to humanity in the abstract.' 

' A hard case. Well, you can fall in love. That will 
pick one individual out of the lump of humanity. There 
are lots of really nice girls who wouldn't mind marrying a 
rich man, however rich he might be, if he would put his 
case prettily.' 

' Love ? Well . . . sometimes I think so. But I dis- 
trust women. They would only marry me for my money.' 

' Dear me — this is sad. You really must get something 
to do, Denny. Why not go in for politics ? No ? There is 
literature. There is Art.' 

' Without the stimulus of necessity one cannot — one is 
afraid of being third-rate, after all' 

' You've got 'em pretty bad, old man,' said Kit. ' x\bout 
as bad as they are made.' 

' You lucky beggars who've got to work ' 

'Lucky beggars — lucky — who've got to work!' Kit 
repeated, staccato. 



THE LAMENT OF DIVES 29 

' You can go on with the old illusions. You can believe 
in philanthropy, lofty human nature, disinterested self-sacri- 
tice, pure patriotism and all the rest of it.' 

' These are very alarming symptoms,' said Kit. 

' Nobody knows ' — young Dives plunged his hands deeper 
into his pockets — ' nobody can understand what a disgust- 
ing thing it is to have so much money. It takes the colour 
and the taste out of everything. It makes everything yellow. 
It turns everything into cold boiled veal.' 

' Cold boiled veal,' Kit replied thoughtfully. ' It is a food 
seldom exhibited at the club.' 

' If one was an eldest son, a man of family, with a title 
and an ancient name and a good old house, it would be 
endurable. As for me, I came into an immense pile of 
money and a going concern when I was ten. I've got no 
family : I can't even show a coat of arms : the ancestral 
smockfrock or the leathern apron is within the memory of 
the aged.' 

'Dreadful!' 

' It began at school. All the other fellows looked forward 
to work : they had a career before them and distinction to 
win. The rich boy — people don't understand how lonely it 
makes him — knows that he needn't work at all. He hasn't 
got to learn anything. You might as well expect a girl 
engaged to be married to learn a trade. The older you grow 
the worse it is for you. If you've got any abilities — Lord 
knows whether I have any — it seems like taking the bread 
out of some other fellow's mouth to cultivate them. You 
happy fellows who've got no money can show the world how 
clever you are. All I had to learn was a taste for claret, so 
to speak.' 

' Very good thing,' said Kit, ' if you can get good claret. 
The taste without the claret is what they have given to 
Tantalus and to me.' 

' Other fellows,' Dives went on, ' when they want any- 
thing, have got to work for it. That makes them understand 
how good it is. As for me, the moment I begin to want a 
thing, I am able to buy it. You know you can't value any- 
thing if all you've got to do is to order it.' 

' True . . . Most true.' 

' And when you come of age and go out into the world, 
you find out — every rich man finds this out in a very short 



30 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

time— that maukiud are mostly made up of those who beg 
and those who steal. When he discovers this, he has to 
spend most of his time in protecting himself.' 

' One has heard something of this kind before. You put 
on armour, I have heard — the whole armour of Indiffer- 
ence.' 

' They find out where you are, though you hide yourself 
under an assumed name in an island of the Pacific Ocean. 
They pelt you with letters : they lay every kind of trap for 
you : they ransack your record to find out your weak places : 
they threaten, cajole, flatter, weep : they lie in wait for you 
when you go out of the house : they get inside the door on 
false pretences : they develop inconceivable craft and 
subtlety, and all to get your money.' 

' And you meet them ' 

' I never answer any of the letters. I never reply to any 
of the sturdy beggars, I never give anything to the earnest 
secretaries, the starving curates, the importunate widows, 
the distressed authors, the paralyzed old ladies ' 

' Poor old things !' said Kit. 

' I answer none of their letters. Only the invitations— 
the invitations,' he repeated, with a weary sigh._ 'I suppose 
that you, now, are still able to accept an invitation with the 
hope of pleasure ?' 

' If there is good claret in the house and the girls are nice, 
why not ?' 

' Why not, for you ? Under the smiles of the hostess you 
do not detect designs : you do not see an intention to catch 
a prize for her daughter — you do not fear that the host is 
going to spring a trap upon you in order to get some of your 
money.' 

' None of these terrors assail me,' said Kit. 

' In short, you have not learned to mistrust the whole 
world ?' 

' I have not. But I now perceive where the yellow 
comes in.' 

' Happy man ! Your poverty is your best treasure. Oh !' 
his languor dropped from him and he spoke in earnest. 
' There ought to be no rich men : it is bad for the State that 
men should become rich : it is ruin — ruin — for a man to be 
born rich. Wealth makes paupers, beggars, and thieves- 
all our charity only generates more paupers and more 



THE LAMENT OF DIVES 31 

thieves. \Ve alleviate suffering iu order to disguise the 
cause of suffering : yet men can only learn how to act by 
suffering : you cannot raise, or lift, or shove along humanity 
by persuasion, by coaxing, by bribing : the only thing that 
will save the world is pain. Prick the sluggish lump, and it 
bellows : starve it and it moves. When humanity has been 
at last lashed into understanding, men will learn — not 
before.' 

' Oh ! I say,' said Kit. 

Denny stopped with a queer kind of laugh. 

' I ought to be the last to preach this doctrine, of course. 
That is because I am rich — if I had nothing I could preach 
what I believe. Never mind — come back to the mistrust. 
Man, I mistrust, I say, the whole world — whom do I not 
mistrust? My oldest friend — the girl whom I might have 
loved — every poor wretch who is starving, but who may be 
an impostor — every good cause — even philanthropy itself — 
every church, and everybody in it, from Archbishop to pew- 
opener.' 

' I now understand,' said Kit, ' the cold boiled veal. And 
it is a great pity that you cannot borrow my eyes for a 
httle.' 

' What would be the good of borrowing your eyes ?' 

' If you had my eyes you would perceive that there are 
people in the world who never beg at all and only steal on 
recognised principles — as when the Q.C. takes fifty guineas 
and doesn't even read the case. You would also make the 
acquaintance of people who would help you to keep up the 
old illusions — love, friendship, sincerity — everything. I 
am in love myself — desperately iu love, with the dearest, 
sweetest, loveliest little fairy in the world, and I ought to 
know. Illusions, sir ? Hang it — they are the only realities. 
You poor rich creature, if I could only leud you my eyes 
for a little spell and make you see — what a difference there 
would be in you !' 

' Yes, Kit — yes — if ' 

' Come down and live with me for a bit. Come in dis- 
guise. Pretend to be a Pauper. My friends won't care, 
provided you are a clever and a clubable Pauper. To be at 
once a Pauper and a Fool,' he added thoughtfully, ' must be 
the Devil.' 

' It would be no use. I should be found out next day. 



32 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

Then the distressed gentlewoman would be upon me 
again.' 

' The long purse can buy pretty well everything,' said 
Kit. ' Why not look about for a mercenary Jinn or a hard- 
up fairy and pay him to do your bidding, and change you 
into something else for a while — say, a strolling banjo- 
man? There must be spells and incantations in existence, 
if one knew how to get hold of them. You might get a 
Lamp or — or — I say, what the deuce is the matter ?' He 
jumped out of his chair as he asked the question, gazing in 
wonder on his companion. 

For Mr. Denis Stirling was giving evidence by face and 
eyes and by gesture of surprise in extremity. He leaned 
back no longer, but stood upright, showing, very strongly 
the symptoms above delicately hinted at. 

' "What is it, man ?' 

' I did not know. I had forgotten — I thought it was only 
an old wife's story.' 

' Forgotten what ?' And again Kit's voice died away in 
a whisper. He tried to pour out for himself another glass 
of champagne, by way of cordial ; but his fingers lacked the 
strength to clutch the bottle, and he felt as if the earth were 
rolling beneath him. 

' I learned it in Damascus,' the other returned. ' I paid 
a large sum of money for the secret. My friend, your words, 
spoken in jest, recalled a possession which I hardly ever 
thought to employ. With your permission — if you will — 
that is — be so extremely obhging ' 

' What am I to permit ?' 

' What you proposed, I say, in jest, can be effected if you 
please.' 

' What did I propose ?' 

' That I should see things with your eyes. In order to 
do that we should have to exchange ourselves.' 

' That is impossible. There are no longer any slaves of 
the Lamp or Eing.' 

' Perhaps. But the thing remains. Consider a moment. 
Kit.' He spoke quite steadily and fluently ; but kept 
his eyes fixed upon his friend, who had no choice but to 
meet his gaze. And still the earth sank under him and 
things went round and round, and it was as if the room 
and everything in it had vanished clean away. * Consider, 



THE LA ME XT OF nniiS 



33 



my friend. This exchange is no new thing. It is, on the 
other hand, quite a common thing — we read of it every- 
where. The incantations of Circe are founded on this 
secret. By means of this the great Afreet Sakhr conveyed 
the soul of King Solomon, for three days, into the body of 
a kitchen scullion. Thus was Lucius transformed into an 
Ass : thus King Eobert of Sicily was made to become a 
beggar. Nay, even parts of men have been sold or ex- 
changed. Thus are the cases of Peter Schlemihl, who sold 
his shadow : of Luke Lucraft, who sold his appetite : of 
Dr. Jekyll, who changed his outward appearance : Thack- 
eray's Baron . . . not to speak of Mr. Bultitude and the 
boy ' 

' You cannot, really.' 

' I can if you will permit me. The thing, as I said, is by 
no means new,' 

' Hang it,' said Kit. ' The question is whether it is new 
to me. It is no new thing for a baby to be born ; but to 
me it made all the difference in the world. And dying is 
quite common, but the thing will have all the interest of 
entire novelty to me. x^re you joking, Denny ?' 

' Certainly not. See . . .' He went into his bedroom 
and returned with a box, about the si/e of a glove-box, made 
of scented wood, carved. ' This contains a phial. Behold 
it !' He opened the box and showed a long flat bottle lying 
in a red silk cushion within. ' This is a very precious box 
indeed. There are not half-a-dozen boxes in the world 
containing anything so precious. The secrets, my friend, 
which belong to the soul have been discovered long ago — 
long before those which belong to the body. The contents 
of this phial acts upon the will as cocaine acts upon the 
nerves.' 

' Why upon the will?' 

' How should I know ? If a man takes a few drops of 
this preparation he surrenders his will, for the time, com- 
pletely to the person who administers it. Look at me. Do 
not take j'our eyes away.' He spoke with authority, but 
indeed Kit felt that his ej^es were fixed; he was fascinated, 
as the bird by the snake. ' If you take them, for in- 
stance ' 

' If I take them ' repeated Kit, feeling as if he were 

in a dentist's chair after the chloroform. 

3 



34 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' If you take them, I shall carry out your proposal, I shall 
exchange with you. That is to say, you will enter into my 
body as into a lodging — you with your own mind, your own 
memories, your own learning, your own inchnations. I into 
yours. Do you consent ?' 

' For how long ?' 

' We can say a day — a week— a month — just as you like. 
But to do anything at all in the time, we want three months 
at least. We will say three mouths exactly to the day. 
Are you agreed to that ?' 

Kit murmured something. He was growing weaker and 
weaker. 

' Remember, you will have absolute control of everything 
that is mine. You can buy, spend, lend, give, do what you 
please with the whole of my fortune. I trust you with it 
unreservedly. Only I warn you that you will find it 
desperately dull. I, for my part, shall have to get along 
as best I can with your more slender means. You will 
have, for three months, just as fine a time as unlimited 
wealth can give you.' 

' It is like a dream,' Kit murmured. ' I will make Eosie 
the happiest girl in the world. They shall all be happy — 
all be happy.' 

' Then — you consent ?' 

' With joy — with pleasure — with ..." 

Kit lifted his head and opened his eyes. He was stand- 
ing with his back to the fireplace, leaning against the mantel- 
shelf. He turned and saw, to his amazement, in the mirror, 
not himself at all — but Denny Stirling. On the shelf stood 
the ivory box, and in it lay a long flat phial, from which a 
few drops had been taken. 

' I told you so.' It was his own voice — Kit's voice — that 
spoke to him, and in the chair sat Kit himself; but he had 
replaced the glass of champagne upon the table, and now 
sat up looking strangely alert and wide-awake. 

' I told you so,' Kit repeated. ' Don't look so astonished, 
man. The trick is done.' 

' What trick ? Oh ! I remember — I remember. Have I 
been fainting ? I felt faint. What have you done ? Where 
ami?' 

' You will come roimd in a moment. Stay — drink this 
wine. So — that is better, The stuff is awfully strong. As 



TlIF [AME.\r OF DIVF.S 



.^5 



I told you, it acts ou the will like cocaine ou the uerves. 
A most valuable preparation. Well, my friend, you are 
all right again now, I hope. You are, for three months, 
Denis Stirling, and I, for three months, am Arthur Christo- 
pher Cotterel.' 

' Oh !' The nouveau riche straightened himself out. 
'Yes! — now I remember. You mesmerized me, I think, 
and you gave me something or other — and, upon my word, 
old man, you are the greatest magician of modern times. 
Maskelyne is nothing to you. And — I say — I am Dives — 
I am Dives !' He threw out his arms and laughed aloud. 
And then he sighed a deep and grateful sigh. ' I am Dives,' 
he repeated. ' I have got possession, for three months, of 
an enormous income. Oh ! it's splendid ! As for you, 
Denny my boy — I mean Kit — I am sorry for you, because 
you will have to be on the trot in a way you hardly expected. 
You've got fifteen and sixpence in your pocket : you are 
three weeks overdue with your landlady : and there is a 
sheaf of little bills lying on the table. A very lively time 
you are likely to have.' 

Kit, or Denny, sprang out of his chair. 

' For three months I've got to work or starve ! Why, I 
feel as strong^as strong ! Oh ! it is splendid ! I have 
got to earn the daily bread.' 

Denny, or Kit, sank into the empty chair and took up 
Kit's abandoned glass of champagne, and fell back with 
Kit's laziness. 

' For three months,' he murmured, ' nothing to do but to 
lie down and to enjoy the fruits of the earth in due season, 
and to make everybody else enjoy them. For three long 
months ! What a chance ! What a chance !' 



CHAPTER II. 

THE DINNER BELL. 

When the first dinner bell rang, those who w^ere playing 
tennis on the lawn began to play up faster, in order to make 
the most of the minutes left to them : those who were stroll- 
ing and talking together in the garden turned reluctant steps 
and slowly sauntered homeward : those who were sitting in 



36 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

the shade lazily moved their limbs and looked regretfully 
at the setting sun. 

It was an evening near the end of August, when the sun 
goes down about seven, and the dinner bell tolls also the 
knell of parting day. The day had been fine ; the sky was 
blue overhead, and rosy to west and east : the air was 
warmed through and through, the fragrance of jessamine 
and lingering honeysuckle was borne on the breeze ; a few 
over-blown roses hung upon the bushes : the voice of the 
blackbird came from the woods, with the prolonged cry of 
the yellow-hammer : the gardens were filled with the pro- 
digal luxuriance of late summer and early autumn — tall 
hollyhocks flowering at the top, big sunflowers hanging 
their heavy heads, sprawling nasturtiums, gladiolus broken 
down by the wind, ragged masses of sweet-peas lying over 
their sticks, and white-belled figwort — the bells filled with 
bumble-bees. 

The tennis players were young men and maidens, whose 
sports, when they play together, it is at all times a joy to 
behold : those who walked in the gardens were young men 
and maidens going two and two, — garden walks were 
originally made in pious imitation of that sloping way con- 
structed by the Patriarch, hand-railed on either side, which 
led into the Ark : those who sat on the terrace, or under 
the walnut-tree in the basket-chairs, were also young men 
and maidens. It was, in fact, a company of young men 
and maidens : if I were young, I should desire no better 
company : when one is no longer young, there is no greater 
pleasure than to look from a-near upon such a company, and 
to be among them, though not of them. 

Let me never cease to look on while the Hours them- 
selves, wreathed with flowers, dance, taking hands, and 
sing with lusty voices, laughing with merry lips and lovelit 
eyes and dimpled cheeks, flashing white arms, and tossing 
fair curls over shapely shoulders. They dance not for me, 
but for the young, who dance and sing and laugh, and run 
along with them, not knowing that they cannot choose but 
run. Earth hath no lovelier sight. Let me never turn 
from them to look upon those other Hours, which attend 
the old. Wrinkled dames are they— but their faces are 
sometimes kindly and full of pity, — and they dance and 
sing_and laugh no more. But though they are old, they 



THE DINNER BELL 37 

are still the Hours, aud they never cease to ruu — faster and 
faster still — aud drag along with them the gray beards and 
the old ladies, the rheumatic and the gouty, the asthmatic 
and those who cough. Now at last they understand that 
they cannot choose but go with the Hours, though the pace 
is so cruel and the goal is so uncertain. 

The house is not more than five-and-twenty miles or so 
out of London, but only the county guide and hand-books 
know it, because there is as yet no railway within eight 
miles of it, and therefore there are no visitors. It is let for 
the summer, or for a longer time if he should desire it, to 
Mr. Denis Stirling. There is no prettier house anywhere 
in the country. It was built at the time — Henry the Eighth 
being then young, and of a slender figure — when the old 
manor houses, thatched, timbered, plastered, were every- 
where being pulled down, and replaced by more stately 
buildings in brick and stone. This house is of brick, a 
house built on two sides of a square — the two which face 
bouth and west. It is of two stories : the roof is high, 
pierced with many small dormer windows, and covered with 
red tiles : the square projecting windows give, it is true, less 
light to the rooms than those of a modern house ; but such 
rooms as these — low, long, panelled with dark cedar, hung 
with portraits, brightened with gilding here and there, and 
with painted coats of arms, cabinets full of plate and china, 
polished armour and gleaming weapons — want less light 
than modern rooms, square and lofty. The front of the 
house is covered with ivy cut close and trimmed, so that it 
shall not hide the brick mouldings over the windows, and 
the shield above the door. The rooms look out on a broad 
terrace, which would be incomplete without its pair of 
peacocks : beyond the terrace is a goodly space of lawn : 
beyond the lawn is the garden — the old garden made five 
hundred years ago for the solace of the ladies— a sweet and 
lovely place wherein to dream the happy hours away with 
a companion who shall receive the thoughts and fancies of 
an idle summer morning. Here are the things which those 
fair damoyselles loved : the fountain and the dial, the walk 
covered with greenery of branches interlaced and protected 
from the blasts of north and east by a tall hedge of holly 
too thick for Boreas at his worst to penetrate : the trees 
are mulberries and apples with twisted and moss-grown 



38 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

branches : the iiower-beds are formal; the llowers are of the 
kinds beloved of old — nothing here that hath not been praised 
by Elizabethan poets. 

The house is part of the village. This is in accordance 
with old English ideas : rich and poor must still live side 
by side in love and friendship ; the Church, which here also 
forms part of the village, not dividing, but uniting them. 
Except for its tower, which is older, the Church belongs to 
the same period as the house : they have restored it quite 
lately, and its sharply cut stones want the rounding hand 
of Time. We will come to look upon it again after three 
hundred years. Let us agree to meet again this day three 
hundred years outside the lich-gate. In the churchyard 
are the graves of the villagers : in the church are the tombs 
and brasses of the people to whom the house and village 
have at various times belonged. Outside the churchyard 
and the house is the village green, and in the middle of the 
village green there is a circle of tall elms surrounding the 
old well. The cottages of the people are on the other sides 
of the green. And there is nowhere a more peaceful or 
more beautiful village than this — nowhere is there a fragment 
of Arcady more truly genuine. Surely — surely the people 
must be full of all the rural virtues. Here contentment, 
gentle speech and kindly thoughts must ever dwell. This 
to believe, raises our love and respect for the rural virtues, 
and encourages us in their daily practice, even when we 
go back to town, where also the virtues of Arcady may be 
practised. 

The tenant of this house sat lazily in a basket-chair, one 
of the Indian kind, where you can lie back and put up your 
feet. He sat with his head on his hand, looking out upon 
the garden and upon the people in it. When you saw 
Denny Stirling last he was discontented ; too much wealth 
had made him grumpy : now the sunshine of content glowed 
upon his face. He was talking to an elderly lady — there 
must always be an elderly lady in every company — we 
pretend that it is necessary on account of the convenances, 
but it is, really, because the contrast of age with youth is 
so useful to the latter. Sophia Gentry was the name of 
this old lady. Everybody in the profession knows Sophia, 
the water-colour painter. She is not, to be sure, quite the 
leader in that branch of English Art, but by that unwearied 



THE DINNER BELL 39 

brush of hers she hrst kept her mother; theu she kept her 
husband and her mother : next, her husband and her 
mother and her three children. She still keeps herself, 
because so long a struggle leaves nothing behind it in the 
way of accumulated wealth. She sat on a low chair beside 
her host, her hands crossed in her lap, her face sweet and 
benignant, set in its frame of gray hair, a picture of lovely 
age. 

' Denny, it is disgraceful. You ought to be up and play- 
ing lawn-tennis — or riding — or walking — or doing some- 
thing,' said the old lady. ' You really are the very laziest 
man I have ever seen.' 

' Lazier than Kit Cotterel, with whom you are always 
comparing me ?' 

' Much. Because he is obliged to do something, some- 
times. Otherwise he would starve.' 

' I like lying down and looking on and listening,' he 
murmured. ' All sorts of thoughts come into a man's head 
while he is looking on and listening. Pretty thoughts : 
pathetic thoughts, so beautiful that they cannot be written 
down.' 

' Man does not live on beautiful thoughts alone.' 

' Yet, Sophia mine,' he said, 'you who have to marry, on 
what do you live ?' 

' I live partly on memories,' she replied sadly. ' When 
one comes to seventy years there are memories in every 
breath of wind, in every hour that strikes — even in every 
face that one sees. The dead are with me, Denny, and I 
live with them.' 

Denny took her hand and pressed it. 

'You remind me,' she said, smiling, * every day more and 
more of my poor Kit Cotterel. Not in appearance, because 
you are tall and — well — good-looking, sir ; while Kit is short 
and fat, and not beautiful at all.' 

' He isn't ?' said Denny with a laugh and a quick gleam 
in his eyes. 

' No ; not a bit. Even Eosie admits that. But you 
have so many of his little tricks. He is fond of pressing 
my hand, just to show that he understands me and loves 
lae : you know he is a kind-hearted lad, our Kit.' 

' Humph !' said Denny. ' Is he ?' 

' You talk like him : you love to call people by their 



40 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

Christian names, like him : you dislike ceremony, like him : 
you even play and sing like him.' 

' I told you, Kit gave me all his songs.' 

' Yes : and you have caught his manner. And — oh, dear 
me — you are so lazy.' 

' Why are we here if not to be lazy ? It is the summer 
season : it is holiday : it is always afternoon : we are all 
resting.' 

' Yes — that is very well. You can be as lazy as you 
please. There is this difference, though. To Kit, his lazi- 
ness is the ruin of his life : because he will not work, he 
will not succeed. When it is too late he will repent and 
reproach himself. And there is that girl to consider : he 
will spoil her life too.' 

' Beast of a Kit,' said Denny. ' Pitch into him, Sophia.' 

' I was in hopes that you, as his friend, would speak to 
him.' 

' I have, Sophia, times out of mind. I have said to him, 
speaking into the looking-glass, a thousand times: "Kit, 
you are a pig." ' 

' Why into the looking-glass ?' 

* Oh ! for convenience, of course. Why else? "Kit," I 
say, " you are a pig." But it is of no use, none. Kit must 
go his own way. My opinion is, that when he has had a 
long rest, and the opportunity of learning what his friends 
frankly think of him, he will reform. He must. He shall 
— he will — reform. I will make him.' 

' You? No, Denny, you will only make him worse.' 

At this point the dinner bell already spoken of began to 
ring. 

Sophia got up obediently. 

' Think of the poor girl, Denny, and do what you can. 
And now I must go. Alas ! only a week more — less than 
a week. It is terrible to think that one must go back to 
London again, and to the mill. Alas !' 

' Alas !' Denny sat up lazily and echoed the sigh. 

' As for ever doing it again, you will be too lazy, Denny. 
Besides, such a thing is never repeated. It will become 
a beautiful dream. I have for once had the life of a country 
house in the midst of wealth and plenty and luxury, I 
think I have never seen in all my life before so many 
peaches and grapes as I have actually devoured in these 



Tin- DINNER BELL 41 

months. Deuay — you foolish, lazy, iucouscqueutia person, 
you have made au old woman happy. You have her 
blessing, my sou; and as for the girls — but here they 
come.' 

The thing itself is so simple that one wonders why it has 
never been done before, and why it is not done every year 
by every rich man. Yet it is so unusual — in fact, it never 
had been done before by anybody — that to the girls them- 
selves it seemed as if the man who did it had been sent 
down straight from Heaven, in order to do something for 
those who work so hard and get so little. This young 
Dives, as kind-liearted as he was rich, actually invited to 
his house — and that the most lovely house ever imagined — 
as many girls as the house would hold for the whole of their 
summer holidays, if they could get any holidays. He 
invited them in companies and troops : he also invited them 
individually and severally, because no girl likes to be con- 
sidered one of a company ; and he invited young gentlemen 
to meet them — yea, pleasing young gentlemen, open to the 
sweet influence of Venus, that bright planet more powerful 
even than the Pleiades : impecunious they were mostly, like 
the girls, but hopeful, and some of them had both feet on 
the ladder. He said, this benevolent Dives : 

' Come, you poor things. You are young : your feet are 
aching to dance — you shall dance the soles off your shoes if 
you like : your eyes are dim with tears, because your lips 
cannot laugh — here you shall laugh as much as you please : 
you yearn in your sultry lodgings for the fragrance of the 
dowers, the babbling of the streams, the rusthng of the leaves 
— here you shall have garden, and stream, and woods : you 
long for the society of other young people, especially of that 
sex which makes sport and causes laughter, creates mirth, 
and invents everything for delight and for use — here you 
shall find them : you desire the play of youth and its talk, 
the words which mean nothing and yet so much— here you 
shall have that play. Come to me ; I will give you feast, 
and dance, and song — perchance, if kind Heaven will, you 
shall hear the voice of Love. Other rich men, moved by 
the terrible fate of him who suffered Lazarus to lie at his 
gates, draw cheques for hospitals and the relief of the 
starving. As for me, I think of the poor gentlewomen for 
whom nothing is done, though they also lie at the gates of 



42 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

the rich man's house, and eat the crumbs which fall from 
his table. Come, then, all who can.' 

Was there ever a more excellent Dives ? What gratitude, 
what love, could be found adequate in return for hospitality 
so gracious and so unbounded ? Nay — it was whispered 
that railway journeys w^ere paid ; that mysterious gifts of 
frocks, hats, jackets, gloves — and I know not what — arrived 
for those girls who w^ere invited. One should not inquire 
too closely into these things. Certain it is that there was 
no girl among all that company who had reason to be 
ashamed of her dress, and how that circumstance could 
have happened without mysterious or miraculous interven- 
tion one cannot understand. 

They came running in, I say, laughing and chattering — 
only twenty minutes left for dressing. Said I not that all 
were young? The men w^ere under thirty — well, thirty-five 
at the outside. After thirty-five, as well as I remember, 
one can no longer pretend to the premiere jeunesse : the 
women were all under five-and-twenty, with an average 
nearer to twenty-one than to twenty-five. In previous 
parties at this Summer House of Holiday there had been 
ladies of more advanced age, but, for certain reasons of his 
own, Denny reserved a party all young for the last four 
weeks. At the first aspect of the girls one became conscious 
of certain small differences ; they were not in all respects 
like the girls one generally meets at garden-parties, and 
dinners, and evening jumperies. Perhaps they w^ere not 
dressed so well : it is difficult for the male historian to speak 
with authority on this point: certainly most of them showed 
a creditable leaning towards the beautiful in raiment. On 
the other hand, free thought, abhorrent to the average 
feminine soul, marked their taste. Apart from dress, their 
faces were somewhat graver than those of maidens who 
belong to society, and their eyes were steadier. For, you 
see, these girls w-ere, all of them, every one of them, of those 
who work for their livelihood. This fact will account for 
many little points of difference. The men with them were 
also working bees : not one among them all of those who 
spend their lives in shooting and fishing and hunting, and 
so earn the poet's reproach of barbarian. Now, if you come 
to think of it, a country house filled with such guests as 
these — young people all, and young people driven by neces- 



THE DINSER BE J J. 43 

sity, possibly kind necessity — to work for tlieir daily bread 
— is rather remarkable, even at a time when so many 
remarkable experiments are tried. 

One of the first of the girls to run up the steps was Eosie 
Eomaine. Everybody called her Eosie, and I believe she 
liked it. But indeed, in this house, the use of the Christian 
name was the only rule. It was quite as if they belonged 
to the Early Church. Eosie was one of the race of Little 
Women, whose history and origin wall be found in my forth- 
coming great work — if ever 1 hud time to write it — on the 
Eaces of Women in Great Britain. There are not now so 
many little women as there were thirty or forty years ago. 
Then they abounded : you will find them in the novels — 
everywhere ; they went out of fashion, and were succeeded 
by the dumpy, stumpy girl, whom you will find in the 
works of Leech : these, in their turn, went out, and were 
followed by the tall girls who now^ reign, with Mr. Du Maurier 
for their Prophet. 

None the less, there are never wanting some who still 
worship the Little Woman : and though most girls show 
that touching obedience to man's wishes which goes straight 
to our hearts, and grow tall to please us, and remain dumpy 
when dumpiness is fashionable, there are still some little 
women who survive and possess the dear little dainty ways 
once so dear to all men, and especially men of six feet and 
upwards. They are mantraps of a dangerous kind, though 
their taller sisters affect to consider them insignificant. 
Insignificant, indeed ! There is no such thing as an insig- 
nificant woman. 

But the Little Venus is little all over : her face and hands 
and feet and arms must be on the smallest scale : in their 
smallness they must show the beauty of proportion more 
sweetly than their larger-limbed sisters. And the Little 
Venus is like her big sister in having many varieties and 
kinds. Chiefly I love two kinds : the dignified little woman 
— nowhere in the world can one find greater dignity than in 
the little woman — and the little woman who has no dignity 
at all. She has everything else, but no dignity. She is 
lively, merry, laughing, charming, piquante, and affectionate. 
She is never silly, and she is never affected ; she is womanly 
and human through and through : she may have a temper 
— she often has so much temper that she is never out of it 



44 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

— but she is never euvious nor spiteful : she is large- 
hearted : she neither thiuketh nor speaketh ill of her sisters. 
When she is happy she is entirely happy : she loves warmth, 
softness, and ease : she would like all the world to be rich, 
and to possess the things which make life beautiful. 

Such a little woman was Eosie. She added one quality, 
all her own : she was caressing. Every man who talked 
with her perceived affection for himself — sisterly affection, 
perhaps — and interest in him. She was caressing in her 
eyes and in her voice : on his very first introduction, every 
man understood that this poor girl had been waiting and 
looking for the chance of talking with him, and that she was 
at last perfectly happy. This kind of thing makes a man 
satisfied with himself and friendly disposed towards the 
girl. No one, therefore, was ever found to speak evil of 
Eosie, nor to call or to think her a coquette, even after 
he had proposed to her — everybody always did that on the 
second day — and had been refused — as always happened — 
and had been taken to the nearest hospital to get his 
shattered heart pieced together again. 

See the contrariness of Fortune. She, who should have 
been ^born heiress to a nice little Palace, with a beautiful 
carriage, and fur wraps, and six-feet footmen, and unhmited 
credit with Madame Hortense, was forced to reside in one 
of the little houses near the Addison Eoad Station, con- 
venient for the train — third class. Fate had robbed her of 
her father, the famous Unsuccessful Water-Colour Painter. 
It was also decreed that she was to have no money and a 
copious — a cornu-copious — supply of brothers and sisters, 
and a ridiculously inadequate allowance of gloves, frocks, 
and bonnets. To add that she inherited her father's artistic 
genius and his want of success, is only to give an additional 
detail to these incongruous arrangements of Fate. 

Among those who proposed to her was Kit Cotterel. She 
was taken unawares — it was an unfair advantage : the thin? 
was done one summer evening, when she was perfectly 
happy — except for her boots : she had on nice gloves, a new 
frock, and a hat newly trimmed ; she was up the river — oh, 
rare chance ! The air was warm and fragrant : the lover 
was as eloquent as if he had been the most industrious and 
successful creature in the world : the maiden melted : she 
had been no more caressing to Kit than to anybody else : 



THE DINNER BEEF, 45 

and she went home the finncic of a man as impecunious as 
herself, and as uncertain of the future. 

Kosie ran up the steps. When she reached the terrace 
she turned round once more to look upon the gardens. 

' Oh !' she sighed, ' how lovely it is ! And oh ! one more 
day is nearly done, and only a week is left !' 

Denny Stirling, to whom she addressed the sigh, 
responded with another so hollow as to be almost a groan. 
Sympathy is as infectious as yawning: when one young 
person begins to confide in another, the other — if of the 
opposite sex — sighs in response. I knew a man once who 
drew all hearts by the way in which he would mingle his 
tears with the tears of any girl who was at once confiding 
and beautiful and sad : yea— he would sometimes mingle 
tears until lips met lips, so that he achieved a great reputa- 
tion, and became popular. He would also have become 
rich, but he gave away all his money to the girls who 
cried. 

'Yes,' said Denny, 'three months are soon gone. I 
thought they w^ould last for ever.' 
' Alas ! they are nearly gone.' 

' Will you come out after dinner, Eosie ? It is going to 
be a lovely evening.' 

' I am afraid I cannot, any more.' 

' Why not ? There will be stars in the infinite azure, 
with deep blacknesses between them. I will show you the 
blacknesses, and the stars you can see for yourself. The 
jessamine is always most fragrant after dark. There are 
cock-chafers buzzing across the lighted windows, and buck- 
beetles. Gnats are lively under the trees, and we will look 
for a glowworm. You told me the other night that you had 
never seen a glowworm. With you for a scientific com- 
panion, I could search for that glowworm half the night.' 

' There are also in the garden, sometimes, men who forget 
what is due to their friends,' she replied with severity. 

' Never. There cannot be such men. If anyone has 
seemed — I say, Eosie, seemed — to forget this important duty, 
it was for the first and only time. Forget their friends ? 
Why, they would have no one to borrow from.' 

' Well, Denny, I did think ' 

There is no reason why a sentence need be completed 
when three words give the key to the rest. 



4^ THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' You will come, Eosie?' he answered, and if anyone had 
been listening he would have thought that there was some- 
thing — even a great deal — of tenderness in his pronunciation 
of the Christian name. Nature has infinite varieties of 
everything, but in nothing is she more various than in the 
pronouncing of the Christian name. 

Rosie looked at him reproachfully. That is, she honestly 
intended reproach. But she broke down, and her eyes 
became sisterly and sorrowful, if not affectionate. 

' I will come, Denny. But — remember.' She held up a 
finger of admonition, and passed in. What was he to re- 
member? The young man remained outside, looking after 
her with an odd expression of bewilderment and anxiety. 

The next who came up from the tennis-ground was a girl 
in pink, with a pale blue blouse, held in place by a leather 
belt and a bright buckle. It is a dainty costume, and the 
pride of this year of grace. This girl was Vernon Cheviot — 
everybody knows that this is only her literary name, and 
that her real name — Molly Damper — is not nearly so dis- 
tinguished. 

There is a prejudice against the literary young lady. She 
is believed to be plain and to be careless about dress ; she 
runs, it is thought, to nose and to spectacles. These be 
calumnies invented by those who have got pretty faces and 
shallow wits. A^ernon Cheviot's is a case which should 
destroy this prejudice. The young lady who becomes a 
poet or a novelist or an artist of any kind is not necessarily 
plain. 

' I am to take you in this evening,' said her companion, 
one of the youngest Masters of a great Public School. ' You 
shall scold me all through dinner, if you please. I would 
rather be scolded by you than ' 

Here they both disappeared within the door, and one of 
the peacocks squalled for luck, and so the rest of the speech 
could not be heard ; and, as this young lady has very little 
to do with the story, it matters not. 

Then the rest came trooping in. There was the teacher 
from the High School. She had acquired so vast a know- 
ledge of philology that the Cambridge Examiners gave her a 
place in the first class of the Classical Tripos, and the High 
School Board gave her another place in their School worth 
exactly one hundred pounds a year — so magnificent is the 



THE DINNER BELL 47 

endowuient of feminine Scholarship. But this immense in- 
come she kept to herself, a secret locked up in her bosom — 
because no High Scliool teacher ever owns to her salary. It 
is a Eule of the Profession. 

There was another — but, no. Why enumerate them? 
They were gentlewomen all, and had for the most part been 
brought up in the expectation of being provided for by some- 
body. Among those who came here for a holiday and a 
rest during Denny's three months' experiment were those 
who try Fortune with the art of Fiction, and those who woo 
her favour with the art of Painting : there were short-hand 
writers, type-writers, governesses, clerks, players of dance 
music, writers of addresses, interviewers, guides, secretaries, 
iudexers, translators, — everything. They came to rest and 
to breathe, expecting nothing more than the boon of fresh 
air, with simple food and shelter. They found a stately 
house, with a return of all those things which once they had 
known, and had long since lost by reason of Madame Poverty, 
who drives a%vay from her victims everything that is pretty, 
happy, and comfortable. 

The last to come in was Geraldine. You know the kind 
of girl who is a kind of queen in her circle. She imposes 
her sovereignty by no assumption of claim or heirship or 
right Divine. It is conferred upon her without explanation 
and accepted by all without question. Men do not try to 
flirt with her ; when she smiles on a man she confers dis- 
tinction : she is by nature a grande dame de par le monde : 
she is too high for most : small men and mean men shrink 
from her. Geraldine was tall — somehow the natural queen 
is always stately. For her calm face and her tranquil eyes, 
which seemed to reveal a soul in which there was no touch 
of earthly passion or taint of earthly meanness, she might 
have stood for Beatrice. As for earthly meanness, of that 
she had none : as for earthly passion, is not earthly love 
held to be a type of heavenly love, or even the gate by which 
many are led to that joy ineffable? Yet some such women 
never know that passion, because they never find the man 
who is able to awaken within them the sacred fire. She, 
too, was one of those who work. She was a decorative 
artist, and chiefly spent her time in designing furniture. 

She was not a tennis-player, and therefore the costume 
^/ffected by the other girls tempted her not. She was dressed 



48 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

in white with a flower at her throat. Beside her walked a 
lad of twenty or so : he was a shght and slender lad, no 
taller than herself : he was narrow in the shoulders and 
hollow in the chest : a beautiful boy — fair of hair but not 
ruddy — he looked up at his companion, as he walked, with 
large and full e} cs — they were eyes of worship, even such as 
those with which Dante followed Beatrice. 

' Eest this evening, Eobbie,' said Geraldine. ' Do not 
talk much at dinner, and go to bed early. To-morrow we 
will read your verses again, and we will talk them over and 
think how we can find a publisher. ' 

' It seems as if I must go on working, Geraldine. I am 
so full of thoughts and I have so little time. Let me sit up 
a little while to write by myself at night.' 

' No, Eobbie. You must go to bed early. And you must 
not think of the worst. Why, you are better already, and 
you have only been here a fortnight. See what fresh air 
and a holiday can do for you.' 

' Yes, I am better here. But next week I must go back 
to the old drudgery. What is the good of getting into 
Heaven, if one has to go out again after three weeks ? No 
— no — forgive me, Geraldine — I shall have had you and this 
place for three long precious weeks. Oh ! I shall have 
enough to remember all through the winter. Foi'give me — 
I am not ungrateful — no — no. In the drudgery and the 
misery of it ' 

' Yes, Eobbie ; but patience — have patience. Things may 
happen. ' 

' What can happen to one who has no friends and no 
money ? But I shall remember. Oh ! Geraldine ' — he took 
her hand and stooped and kissed it — ' I shall remember.' 

He walked slowly up the steps and into the house with 
hanging head. 

' Is he better ?' asked Denny, looking after him anxiously. 

' His cough is better. But there is the winter before him 
and ' 

'Yes — I know. Can nothing be done ?' 

Geraldine made no reply ; but followed the boy. 

Strange and wonderful are the ways of rich men. Here 
was Denny, the young owner of millions : he knew, he could 
not choose but know, that all the boy wanted was rest, sun- 
shine, relief from work, a warm climate : given these, he 



HIE Dh\i\ER BELL 49 

would recover and might grow strong ; without these he 
would die — he would most surely die. Aud yet he seemed 
to love the boy. Nobody, except Kit Cotterel, had ever been 
so kind to Bobbie or shown so much interest in him. Yet, 
he asked— he, the rich man, asked— if nothing could be 
done ! And he sighed as he looked after him, and some- 
thing like a tear rose in his eyes ! And he could stop it if 
he chose ! Strange it is to be Dives. 

Left alone, Denny Stirling looked about him as Rosie had 
done, and then he sighed. 

' I've written to her,' he said, ' every other day. And she 
still replies exactly the same ! She must love me as much 
as ever. And yet she carries on. Oh, it is her nature ! 
What has she said to me here that I could object to — over 
there '? 1 can't keep away from her. I am longing all the 
time to throw my arms round her and tell her all. But, I 
mustn't. She would never believe me— never ! That's the 
worst of being before your time — or behind it. I dare say in 
a year or two an exchange of this kind will be all the fashion. 
It will be an admirable leveller and peacemaker. This kind 
of thing they used to do in the days of King Solomon. And 
now they'll begin it again ; but we are before our times — 
and Rosie would never believe it. I must be very careful — 
very. A single moment off my guard, and ' 

He shuddered and went in to dress. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE CONFESSIONS OF A FIANCEE. 

At ten o'clock the air in the garden was still warm and 
balmy. Those who sat or walked under the stars breathed 
the fragrance of many flowers, though the season was so far 
advanced. The heavy scent of jessamine hung in the air as 
persistently as a London fog. This perfume, as is not 
generally known, formed a principal ingredient in those acts 
of witchcraft which were designed to suggest thought, 
induce temptation, and destroy the will. Especially it was 
found sovereign for softening the heart and opening it for 
the reception and the bestowal of confidence. Every young 
person has felt this soft influence of jessamine. A very flue 

4 



so THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

flowering specimen formerly grew in the garden of Eden, 
close to the apple-tree. Those who were in the garden on 
the terrace not only breathed the incense of this seductive 
plant, but their souls were lulled to rest by the music which 
floated out of the doors and windows of the drawing-room. 
This goodly company sometimes danced, sometimes sang, 
sometimes made and acted plays, sometimes talked; but 
whatever they did, there was always music — sometimes 
such as falls peacefully, and sometimes such as stirs and 
stimulates, and sometimes such as sets the feet spinning — 
but always music. 

Two of the company were walking up and down the 
terrace : one — you may recognise her by her slight and 
slender figure, clothed in white, a lace shawl over head and 
shoulders — was Kosie Eomaine; the other — a tall form 
walking beside her with hanging head, as if despondent — 
was Denny Stirling. Eosie kept her promise : she came 
out after dinner, but not alone ; others were in the garden, 
but they were in pairs, for mutual solace and protection 
against wild beasts or ghosts. 

' Back again,' the girl was saying — ' back again to the 
old life.' 

' Poor child ! and— what was that you said yesterday ? 
the unsatisfied longing !' 

' Anybody who is too poor to have what she wants suffers, 
I suppose, from unsatisfied longings ! Oh ! how I yearn 
— how I long — how I pray for the things I shall never 
get!' 

' Tell me what they are — some of them.' 

' They are everything I should like to surround myself 
with pretty things — a pretty house with pretty furniture, 
pretty dresses, and pretty people. Poor people may be 
good and interesting and heroic, and anything you please, 
but they never have pretty things about them — never.' 

' Poor child ! Fate is cruel. Where there can be no 
beauty, there should be no desire for it ! But then the 
world would never get on at all, would it ?' 

' If we only had a world which had done getting on, and 
was quite got on, you know — arrive — so that we were all 
rich and artistic, and really nice together ! and if the easy 
life was served out to everybody instead of one or two here 
and there.' 



THE CONFESSIONS OF A FIANCEE 51 

' You would do no work, of course.' 

' Of course I would not. Every woman loathes task- 
work — though, because so many have got to do it, some of 
us pretend to like it. I should like to wake up every morn- 
ing with a sense of holiday, nothing before me but to feel 
the joy of living.' 

' And in this life, this beautiful life, wall there be ' — he 
hesitated — ' would there be any place for love?' 

' It is so like a man to ask such a question,' she replied, 
smiling superior. ' Oh ! Denny, have you got to learn, at 
your age, that a woman can never be happy without love 
You might as well ask me if there would be no air, no light, 
no sunshine in life. Why, every dream of every girl is 
brimful of love. Of course, there will be love. I can speak 
openly, because, you see, 1 am engaged.' 

' I forgot. Yes, you are engaged.' 

' I'es,' she replied shortly — meaning : ' I am indeed; and 
to your friend.' 

' Yes,' he repeated, as one who would have added : ' I 
know it, and am going to remember it.' 

' Y^es,' she said, for the third time, now meaning: 'And 
mind you do remember it.' 

This kind of conversation may be continued as long as 
each side sees the other's meaning. As soon as the thread 
of thought is lost, it ceases to interest. Denny broke it off 
at this point. 

' Y'ou will marry, and then you w'ill have all that you 
desire. Kit will give you everything. He must — he can 
desire nothing better than to pour the whole wealth of the 
world into your lap.' 

Eosie laughed. 

' Poor dear Kit ! This is exactly how he himself talks. 
All the wealth of the world is to be mine. He wnll pour 
sackfuls of diamonds, and rubies by the score into my lap. 
I shall have only to hold up my apron. And all the time 
he is weeks in arrear with his landlady. Kit give me every- 
thing ? Why, the poor dear man has got nothing to give : 
and he never will have anything.' 

' Never ? But Kit will work. You shall see.' 

' He will promise to work. Then he will sit down and 
dream that he has worked hard and is enjoying the wealth 
of all the Indies as the fruits of his labour. No ; Kit has 



52 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

no money, and he never will have any. He has no rich 
relations, even, to leave him any. Eich uncles are extinct, 
as a race. Uncles there are still, I believe ; but they are 
all poor, with distressingly large families of their own.' 

' Yes,' said Denny, as despondently as if he himself were 
as poor as Kit. ' This age has witnessed the final degrada- 
tion of the uncle. He can sink no lower. He is now 
married — forgetful of his nephews, selfish beast — and he has 
children of his own. I forgot, though. Had I not myself 
an uncle, who gave his httle all to me, and nothing to my 
cousins? But why can't Kit — this poor dear Kit— make 
money like everybody else ?' 

' He is so horribly lazy, you see. He cannot work. He 
can do nothing but lie and smoke his pipe and dream away 
the time. He is Lob-lie-by-the-fire. Sometimes he writes 
verses. Mostly he sits about with his pipe. In the summer 
it is in the open — and in the winter it is in the most com- 
fortable chair that the club has to offer by the tire. And he 
dreams.' 

' You can't sell dreams,' said Denny. ' There ought to 
be a market though, somewhere, for really good, first-class, 
artistic dreams.' 

* He is going to write the most wonderful novels and plays 
that were ever seen. They will take the world by storm. 
But they don't get written. Oh ! I am very fond of Kit — 
everybody is.' Why did the young man groan at this point ? 
' But I am under no illusion as to the life before me.' 
' For example — the kind of life ?' 

' Just what it has always been. I was born in a muddle, 
and I shall go on in a muddle. You did not know my poor 
dear father, of course. There never was a more delightful 
parent, and the way he believed in his own work quite to 
the end was wonderful. But nobody ever bought his 
pictures, and really I now begin to believe that they may 
have been, after all, deficient in— well — strength. Do you 
understand ?' 

' He was, in fact, unsuccessful.' 

' Yes. Well, you see. Kit, in literature, is exactly like 
that parent of mine in art. He is always going to do great 
things. Some day we shall marry, I suppose,' she sighed. 
' I don't believe Kit will be half so nice as a husband. We 
shall find a horrid cheap flat with three or four rooms and a 



THE CONFESSIONS OF A FIASCEE q-? 

kitchen. We shall have a single servant, who will trample 
on us. We shall always be behindhand with the rent and 
the washing : there will never be any money for nice things, 
or for going anywhere or doing anything. As for society, 
what can one expect ? Debt and dnns and tightness is my 
portion in the world. I am a third-classer, too proud to 
talk to the other third-classers.' 

' No — no — Kit will change. He must, he shall,' 

Rosie shook her head. 

' I know my Kit,' she said, ' better than you. And I have 
no illusions. And poverty will be nothing new : we have 
been poor and in difficulties. One is used to it. We cannot 
escape Fate. When such people as Kit and I marry, the 
situation is quite easy to foretell.' 

' There is your own art.' 

' Oh ! I have not forgotten it. My own art earns for me 
about as much as the wages of one of your housemaids. It 
will add a trifle to the family income, and a great deal to 
the family worry.' 

' Have you seen Kit lately ?' 

' No. Three months ago he sent me word that he had 
got some work to do which would take him out of London. 
I suppose he has been lying on the sea-shore dreaming and 
smoking all the time.' 

' Has he not written to you ?' 

' Oh, yes ; he has written : he writes to me three times a 
week. And he says nothing about his work.' 

' There, you see ! What did I tell you ? Three months 
on end of work, — three steady months of hard work — grind- 
ing work. There's a splendid beginning for you ! There's 
perseverance !' 

' Yes,' she repHed doubtfully. ' Tell me, Denny — you 
who know Kit so well — what do you think of his 
style ?' 

' You mean the style of his songs and verses?' 

' Yes, and of the more ambitious things, the things that 
he sends to Editors, — the things they generally send back. 
Have you seen any of them ?' 

' I have seen all of them.' 

' Then what do you think ?' 

She did not stop to ask him how it happened that he had 
seen all these things. 



54 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Nay — first — what do you think ?' 

' He has been as much rejected as most men. And I 
really think he ought to expect nothing else.' 

Denny started. 

' Have you told him this ?' 

' No — I have not. When you are engaged to a man, and 
he brings you a thing and reads it aloud, and thinks he has 
put into it all he has in his heart, and asks you, with a 
trembhng voice and eager eyes, what you think of it — what 
can you say ?' 

Denny grunted something inarticulate. 

' Can you tell the poor boy that it won't do at all — that 
it wants re- writing ?' 

Denny shook his head. 

' No, one can't do it. A girl can do nothing but purr and 
murmur and tell him how sweet it is, — how true and touch- 
ing, — the best thing he has ever written — the best thing she 
has ever heard. Then he goes away happy. It is no good 
for a man to be engaged unless his girl can send him away 
happy.' 

' None- — none,' Denny replied, hollow-voiced. 

' He never has the patience to re-write his things — to sit 
down and worry and to work at them. He gives ten 
minutes to his work, brings you a pretty Httle sketch and 
calls it a finished picture.' 

' Yes — I fear — I suppose — that may be so.' 

Denny took his chin in his left hand and stroked it. 
This is a gesture which indicates embarrassment or difii- 
culty. It may also mean other things. 

' Don't think, please,' Eosie went on, ' that I am taking 
away poor Kit's character, or talking unkindly about him. 
All my friends say the same thing.' 

' Do they indeed ? It is truly kind of them. Friends — 
candid friends — are so useful and so kind.' 

' Why, Denny, must you be so sarcastic ? Kit himself 
might have been speaking.' 

' No, no. Kit would have spoken less like a finished 
picture : more like a sketch.' 

' Nobody talks better than Kit, for that matter.' 

' I am glad to hear that he has some good qualities.' 

' One would think you were offended. Of course he has 
good qualities. He is the most generous of men, to begin 



THE COXFESSIO.W^ OF A FIAXCF.E 5; 

with. Tie ^ives a^Yay most of liis inoiiey, aud lends the 
rest.' 

' And lives ou ' 

' No ; on what remains, he gets into debt. Poor Kit, you 
see, in money matters is a terrible donkey. But then, 
everybody loves him.' 

' How can you — how can everybody — love a man who is 
a donkey, and who is always in debt, aud whose style is 
sketchy ?' 

' Absurd ! you love the man — not his debts or his style or 
his donkeydoms. They are not a part of the man.' 

' "Well, Kit ought to be happy,' said Denny, ' if only 
because one woman ' 

'Thank you,' she interrupted him quickly, ' if one woman 
didn't anotlier would. Men can always comfort themselves 
with that reflection. Kit, now, is perfectly happy, though 
he hasn't seen me for three months. He dreams that he 
has just brought out a novel over which the world has gone 
frantic. Or else, that he has just produced a play which 
has driven the town mad. Tlu's kind of dream comes to 
him every day.' 

' It seems a harmless occupation.' 

' Perfectly harmless. Kit will never make his wife 
jealous. She might, to be sure, wish to see him more prac- 
tically occupied. She will have the butcher's bill, the 
laundress's bill, and the third application for the rent, 
spread upon the table, with twopence in her pocket. Pity 
that it is not enough for a husband to be harmless.' 

I suppose there is hardly anything more offensive to a 
man than to be called harmless. To be called ill-tempered, 
surly, grasping, prodigal, unjust, may be borne with philo- 
sophy ; but to be called har-mless — actually not able to 
injure anybody — a creature without a kick in him, is a 
deadly thing. " It was too dark for the girl to see the hot 
blush — of sympathy for his friend — mantle to her com- 
panion's brow. 

' One of Kit's idle dreams,' Rosie continued, 'was to do 
exactly what you have done this summer.' 

' Was it ? Then he did dream something practical.' 

' What is the use of dreaming things that you can never 
carry out ? He used to say, however, when he was rich — 
•'when" you see — that he meant to take a country house 



56 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

and fill it all the summer with girls and people — like these 
who are here, you know — without money, but just as fond 
of society and everything as if they were rich.' 

' Yes — I suppose I borrowed that from Kit,' said Denny. 
' I borrowed all his ideas as well as his songs. I wish I 
hadn't.' 

' You wish you had not ! Oh, Denny — and you have 
given so much happiness to everybody ! You cannot wish 
that happiness had never been. Don't say that, Denny,' 
she added, in her most caressing voice. ' And we are all so 
grateful to you for what you have done. Oh, so grateful — 
and we all owe you so much ! Oh, so much !' 

* Rosie !' he cried, with passion irrepressible, ' I don't care 
for all the rest — if you alone ' 

But she fled. 

' I am a Fool,' said Denny, with emphasis. Then he 
walked quick to the end of the terrace, where there was a 
stone bench, upon which he sat down, also emphatically. 
' A Fool !' he repeated. Then he took his chin in his hand 
again and began to think. He had a good deal to think 
about. He had just heard some very remarkable and un- 
palatable truths. To begin with, the girl to whom Kit 
Cotterel was engaged had no illusions about her lover. How 
can you be in love without illusions? They are, the 
anatomist knows, at the very root and foundation of love. 
But, as this young man knew not, here is one of the divine 
and unfathomed mysteries of the feminine heart. The 
thing which is absolutely impossible in man is done every 
day by the merest girl, when she loves a man and yet has 
no illusions about him. The girl who was engaged to Kit 
confessed that she had habitually deceived him as regards 
the beauty a.nd value of his work, which she always under- 
stood to be sketchy. Kit, she knew, would never get on — 
he was too lazy— he was too dreamy ; he would always be 
poor and always in a muddle ; the life before her was one of 
continual struggle ; she would be dragged down and kept 
down by poverty ; and all because her husband was so lazy 
— so dreamy — so unsuccessful. 

He sprang to his feet. No — no — it should not be. After 
a long holiday of three months even this Neapolitan lazi- 
ness would be satisfied : even the idle Kit would be able to 
turn over a new leaf — anew leaf. Dennv sat down'asain 



THE A'£U' LEAF 57 

with a sweet smile, attracted by the imaginary possibihties 
tlius presented to his mind, and for full a quarter of an hour 
dreamed of splendour and prosperity, of fame and fortune, 
to be found written on that new and lovely leaf. 



CHAPTEE IV. 

THE NEW LEAF. 

When Denny awoke out of this soothing dream he returned 
to the drawing-room, quite cheerful again, and ready to 
dance or to play, or to take part in any kind of festivity. 
He had, it is true, felt a little annoyance at Eosie's frank 
utterances. This vexation had now vanished : the beatific 
Vision of the New Leaf consoled him. Fond wretch ! He 
thought he was going to have complete control over that 
new leaf. Every Eesolver thinks that. But you shall see. 

He came back to the drawing-room, therefore, quite 
happy. 

' Sing us a song, Denny.' 

' What shall I sing ?' 'He sat down, turned a smiling face 
upon his friends, and ran his fingers carelessly up and down 
the kevs. ' What shall I sing ? Will you have Kit's song, 
" For those who play "? He gave it to me three months 
ago — words and music' 

He had a soft and musical voice of no great power, but of 
sufficient compass, and he managed it skilfully. 

' Oh ! the earth is full of treasure, 

And the soul can find its fill : 
'Tis a garden-house of pleasure — 

For the joy of those who will. 
And her treasures waste not — spoil not : 

And they follow day by day ; 
Life is long — for those who toil not : 

Only long— for those who play. 
* Twine the roses — bind the lilies- 
While we dance and while we sing ; 
For the hours, sweet partner Phillis, 

Fly like swallows on the wing. 
Yet eachjmoment as'it'flicth 

Doth so sparkle in the sun, 
That its mem'ry never dieth 

Till the very day is done. 



58 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Let us wander in the meadows, 

my love, and whisper low : 
Let us linger in the shadows 

With the ghosts of long ago. 
Morning, noon and eve shall find us 

Hand in hand and cheek to cheek : 
Oh ! the mem'ries — how they bind us ! 

Oh ! the past years — how they speak ! 

' Good old Time is no despoiler 

When he giveth gifts so rare ; 
But the miser and the toiler, 

And the student in his chair, — 
These he fills with tears and sadness 

For the swiftness of his way : 
Life is long and full of gladness — 

Only long — for those who play.' 

Among the guests was one newly arrived, named Pinder, 
more commonly old Pinder. He is certainly no longer 
young Pinder. Men of fifty permit themselves to call him 
old Pinder. He has trodden the pavement of Fleet Street 
and the Strand for nearly fifty years, and has been during 
the whole of this period perfectly well-known to all the 
editors and to all the journaHsts. He now possesses white 
locks and a flowing beard : he carries his seventy years with 
vigour, and he still does exactly the same work as when he 
began at the age of five-and-twenty. 

Mr. Pinder was not accustomed to the society of ladies ; 
he therefore remained in the drawing-room only for the 
short time he considered due to politeness ; he was not fond 
of music ; he therefore sat by himself in a corner and read 
the evening papers. Without them — he always read them 
all— he felt himself cut off from all that one holds dear. 

Just as Denny finished his song, and while the echoes of 
the last notes were rolling about the rafters of the roof, 
everybody was startled by the half— the better half — of an 
interjection more fitted for the smoking-room of the club 
than for a drawing-room. 

' God bless me !' cried Sophia, as Speaker of the House. 
It was a call to order. 

The interjection came from Mr. Pinder. He choked — 
coughed — hid his face with the paper — and replaced the 
utterance by one of a milder character. 
' Kit Cotterel, by the Lord!' he cried. 



TUF A7-:ir I.l'.AF 59 

GeralJine ilrew the paper from his liand. 'Oh!' she 
cried, reading the passage which ^Ir. Finder pointed out. 
' Rosie ! Eosie ! come, read this.' 

Rosie took the paper and read it. 

' But I don't understand it,' she said. ' He has never 
given me the least hint of this kind of work. There must 
he some mistake.' 

' How can there he any mistake?' Geraldine asked. ' It 
is perfectly circumstantial. Oh ! Denny, come and read 
this. Come, everyhody. Prepare to he astonished. It is 
ahout Kit !' 

Rosie laughed, incredulous. 

' It is quite impossible,' she said. ' Quite. Kit couldn't 
do it. Unless, perhaps, he was acting.' 

Geraldine seized the paper and read the paragraph 
aloud : 

' " Those who were present at the St. James's Hall last 
night to hear Mr. Arthur Christopher Cotterel's Lecture on 
the Future Relations of Capital and Production came away 
fix-mly persuaded that, whether the speaker's doctrines are 
sound or not, a question which we reserve until the publi- 
cation of the address, here is a man who will have to be 
reckoned with. It was no surprise to those present to learn 
that the two anonymous articles lately published on branches 
of this great subject in iheContemporary, \\\\\ch. have attracted 
so much attention, are also by him. Mr. Cotterel is a Bar- 
rister, a Cambridge man, and a Journalist. We believe that 
the secret of his studies in sociology and economics has been 
so well kept by himself, that no one of his many friends has 
had the least reason to suspect that he has been training 
himself for a social reformer. The wealth of knowledge 
and illustration lavished upon these articles would point to 
extensive travel as well as to enormous reading. It was, 
therefore, amusing to hear one or two of his friends declar- 
ing that his travels were limited to Paris or Brussels, and 
that his reading must have been carried on in the dead of 
night ; and it is remarkable that a young man who may 
become another John Stuart Mill, but with a more genial 
temperament and a warmer feeling for humanity, should 
have begun by courting notoriety as the writer of light vers 
clc sociHd, which he was wont to sing, himself, at his club. 
We note the fact on the testimony of many in the Hall who 



6o THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

knew him, and came to hear him out of curiosity, and were 
expecting a comic entertainment. The address, dehvered 
with faultless eloquence, trained voice, and a disciplined 
gesture, was nothing short of a vehement attack on the 
existing social systems. To the subject-matter of the dis- 
course it is probable that we shall have to return again, 
and seriously. Meantime, the address is to be repeated, 
and is a thing to be heard." ' 

' Kit Cotterel, by the Lord !' said Mr. Finder again. 

' Oh ! I knew — I knew he would do something great, 
some day!' cried Geraldine, with glistening eyes. 'Kit 
was bound to do something great. Rosie, are you 
proud ?' 

' I cannot understand it,' said Eosie, looking blankly at 
the paper. ' Only yesterday I had a letter from him, quite 
in his old style, full of fun and foolishness. And not one 
word — not a single word — about this oration ! It is impos- 
sible. His head must have been full of the subject. It 
must be some other Kit.' 

' Some other Kit,' said Mr. Finder. ' Without a doubt, 
some other Kit,' he repeated. ' Kit Cotterel on the Rela- 
tions of Capital and Production ! As well have Kit Cotterel 
on the Hittite Tongue !' 

' And besides,' Rosie added, ' Kit has been out of town 
for three mouths ; so that it cannot be he. Oh, somebody 
has taken his name. Or it is another Cotterel confused 
with Kit. A reporter's mistake, or perhaps a reporter's 
joke.' 

'It is about three months,' said Mr. Finder, 'that he 
began to fall off at the club. The fellows met him from 
time to time, and brought back strange stories. He cut 
everybody dead : he pretended not to know them. Kit 
seemed anxious to forget all his old friends !' 

' What are you talking about ?' asked Rosie. ' How 
could he meet anyone ? He has been out of town for the 
last three months. If he has come back it was only 
yesterday.' 

' Well, I met him less than a month ago, and he had a 
bundle of proofs in his hand, and looked mighty important 
and busy. Other fellows have met him here and there. 
He may have been living out of town, but he has certainly 
had to come up pretty often.' 



THE NEW LEAF 6i 

' I know nothing more ot his movements,' said Rosie 
coldly. 

' And undoubtedly,' continued Mr. I'inder, ' he has grown 
serious. Fancy Kit Cotterel serious ! Well — I've lived for 
seventy years, and perhaps I've known even stranger things. 
When 1 met him he pretended to have forgotten me. Ac- 
tually — pretended that !' 

'Well,' said Eosie, ' I dare say he did forget you for the 
moment. Even Kit can't be always thinking of the club.' 

' I had to tell him who I was.' 

' His real friends,' interrupted Geraldine, ' knew that he 
would come out some day. As for his laziness, I have always 
felt that it was nothing but the collection and the concentra- 
tion of his powers.' 

Rosie laughed. 

' Oh ! Geraldine,' she said, ' to think of Kit concentrating 
his power! But I don't understand,' she repeated. ' What 
does he know or care about Political Economy ?' 

' I've read the articles,' said the man of letters, ' and 1 
will say that they are astonishing. One vv'ould think the 
fellow had been all round the world, and had read all the 
books ever written. I'll never believe in any man again — 
never !' 

' Denny !' — Geraldine turned to him. Nobody had taken 
any notice of him. He was standing beside them quite pale. 
He looked dismayed. ' Denny, what do you think ?' 

' What do I think ?' 

' Kit has turned over a new leaf. You said he would,' 
said Rosie. ' A new leaf ! Oh ! what does it mean ?' 

' I do not know — I cannot understand,' said Denny. ' It 
is horrible to think of ! Social reformer ! Lecturer ! Writer 
in the Contemporary ! Good Heavens ! What can be done?' 

For he remembered that yet but a week, and then 

' A new leaf — and what a leaf ! Oh ! it is intolerable !' 

' Well,' said Mr. Finder, ' I don't know about that. We 
are a free country. If Kit likes to turn socialist, or anarchist, 
or radical reformer, why should it be intolerable '?' 

' A new leaf !' Denny repeated. ' This, at least, one could 
not expect.' 

' I think it is delightful,' said Geraldine. ' Here are you, 
persisting in thinking the man tit only to make light songs 
and set them to pretty tunes — -and I knew all along the 



62 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

great things lying dormant. Oh ! I knew he would come to 
the front some day !' 

' Perhaps,' said Denny, ' he may break down, almost at 
the outset. Perhaps he will get tired of it, and go back to 
his club. Let us wait a week — I know Kit. Oh ! I venture 
to prophesy that he will never keep it up.' 

'It's a dreadful disappointment,' said the old man. ' I 
looked upon Kit as my natural successor. He had all the 
symptoms of stopping exactly where he was.' 

' Thank you, Mr. Pinder,' said Eosie. ' We may congra- 
tulate ourselves that he is saved from that fate !' 

She said this with great severity, and retired from the 
discussion concerning her lover. 

Denny sat down, his chin again in his hand, looking at 
Mr. Pinder, and wondering that the old man had all this 
time entertained so strong an opinion and said nothing about 
it to the person chiefly concerned. The glamour of that 
dream about the new leaf faded quite away. The page was 
turned, doubtless, but what was the new page like ? 

Mr. Pinder went on : 

' It's really very wonderful. You all know poor Kit's style 
— slipshod and careless — eh?' 

' Slipshod and careless,' Denny echoed. ' Always the first 
rough sketch instead of the finished picture.' 

'Just so. Well — he has completely changed his style. 
Yes — how he's done it I don't know. It is clear as crystal, 
and polished like marble. A man can change his personal 
habits ; he may take to drink and give it up again ; but how 
he can change his style the Lord only knows. He has 
changed it, however, somehow. Can the leopard change 
his spots?' 

' In other words,' said Geraldine, ' Kit has for once in his 
life — the first time — taken real pains, and shown what he 
can do. This is the result.' 

' Yes. ' The old man looked at her keenly under his white 
eyebrows. Then he glanced at Eosie, who seemed puzzled, 
but not proud. ' You always believed in him — didn't you ? 
Well, it seems that we have lost Kit Cotterel. I am seventy 
years of age, and perhaps I have known things happen more 
wonderful even than this. I thought when I met Kit the 
other day,' continued the Sage, ' that a change had come 
over him. First, he did not see me — that was nothing. 



THE XEW LEAF 63 

Then he did not remember me — that was absence of mind. 
But wlieu I asked him to lend me half a sovereign and he 
refused, I perceived that he was gone — our Kit was gone.' 

' I think, Mr. Finder,' said Geraldine, ' that Kit has 
already lent his friends too many half-sovereigns.' 

' lie thought so too, for the lirst time in his life, and must 
needs explain his refusal by adding a maxim or two : " When 
a man knows he can borrow," said Kit the Moralist, "he 
will not work." "When he knows he can borrow " — con- 
found the puppy ! "A man who knows he can borrow will 
not work." He heaved tliat maxim at my head. I can't 
say more.' 

An hour after midnight, and the only two left awake in 
the house were Mr. Finder and Denny Stirling. They were 
in the smoking-room, with ' materials,' and really, as the 
elder man remarked, considering the comfort of the chairs 
and the quality of the Scotch, and the late hour, one might 
almost fancy himself back at the club. 

' Now they are all gone to bed, we can talk,' said the old 
man. ' No house is tolerable till the women are in bed. 
This Scotch is admirable. I seem to have known you, my 
boy, all your life, though I've only really known you for the 
last few days. I suppose it's partly because you are so 
amazingly like Kit— poor beggar ! I mean before he went 
to the Devil and became serious, and began to fling 
maxims at his best friends.' 

' I believe I resemble him in many particulars.' 

' You do — not in your money, nor yet in your appearance ; 
for Kit had no money, and in appearance he was common. 
Short and fat and, well — ^common. It is the only word. 
Quite a common object to look at.' 

' Quite,' said Denny, colouring and grinning. • A pebble 
by the sea-shore. A paving-stone on the kerb.' 

' But like him in your ways. Poor old Kit I He's as 
good as gone. He means to get to the front. Well, I've 
never been there, but I don't think it can be quite so com- 
fortable as in the back rows. All the people looking at you, 
and making critical remarks. No. It is more comfortable 
to sink your early ambitions, and stay in a back seat.' Here 
he hnished his tumbler, and instantly began to tackle the 
wire of another potash. ' I say, my boy, did you observe 



64 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

well, but did you uot — how the two girls took the news to- 
night ?' 

' What two girls V' 

' Why, the girl he is engaged to — and the girl he ought to 
be engaged to,' said Mr. Pinder, with looser grammar than 
is becommg to a critic. 

' What do you mean ?' 

' I've known Kit all his life, and you haven't. The girl 
that ought to be his wife nearly cried with joy — she's the 
girl that loves him. The girl that's going to be his wife said 
she didn't believe it — she doesn't care, you see, whether he's 
going to be a great man or not. Women are rum cattle — 
very rum.' 

Denny got up and walked to the bookcase. When he re- 
turned, without a book, his face was very red. 

' What are you saying about the girls ?' 

' I've known Geraldine all her life, and Kit too. Now, if 
a man must needs get married, and so spoil all the comfort 
and independence of his life, there's a girl for you !' 

'Geraldine seems a very good girl,' said Denny impar- 
tially. 

' She is. And she loves that jackass, Kit, with all her 
soul and all her strength.' 

' Nonsense. They have always been together ; she takes 
a real and kindly interest in him.' 

' She loves him, I tell you. And she's a fool for her pains. 
First, because he used to be a lazy, good-for-nothing beggar, 
always promising and never performing. And next, because 
he has now turned into a prig, who treats his old friends to 
moral maxims. And, if there's a third reason, it's because 
lie hasn't got the sense to see what a splendid creature she 
is, and so takes up with that little ' 

' Stop ! I say,' Denny thundered, and brought his list upon 
the table so that the glasses jumped for fear. 

Mr. Pinder looked at him with wonder. Why this heat '? 

' What the devil are you flying into a rage for V asked the 
old man after a blank stare. ' Geraldine isn't in love with 
you. The other girl isn't engaged to you. Can't a man speak ?' 

' No, no — only — forgive me — Kit is my old friend, and I 
can't bear to hear him — and the young lady he is going to 
marry — talked about in this way. Besides, it is all non- 
sense. How could Geraldine be in love with him ? They 



THEj\E\V LEAF 65 

were brought up together — they have always been together : 
they are almost brother and sister.' 

' Ahnost, not quite. In these things an inch is as good as 
a mile. Almost— yes. Why, my friend, I can see it in lier 
eyes. But we will talk no more about it.' 

' Good-night,' said Denny, abruptly rising. ' I shall go 
to bed.' 

' You arc not going to bed yet ? Wiiy, it isn't one o'clock. 
Oh, Lord ! Oh, Lord ! How country habits corrupt one. 
Taney being in a house with half-a-dozeu men, and not one 
of them out of bed after one o'clock. Well, well. Go to 
bed, my young friend : I shall have one more potash— or 
two — or three — and go up presently.' 

Denny went to his own room, but he did not immediately 
go to bed. He walked about, thinking, his mind in a diffi- 
culty the hke of which had never before happened unto any 
man. Fmally he sat down and wrote a letter : 

' My deak Kit, — I have heard a good many surprising 
things about you to-day. I always knew that you were a 
lazy beast, and I always suspected, when I could bring my 
mind to look at things clearly, that you were marked out by 
Fate for failure, debt, and difficulties. I now hear, to my 
enormous surprise, that you have in the last three months 
developed a most surprising change in your habits. You are 
industrious, and you have already made some kind of name. 
I am also told that you have changed your old style into 
something quite new, and not in the least like the old. You 
are further reported to have cut your friends, and to refuse 
them when they iinpetrate a loan. All this promises to be 
exceedingly awkward in the future. 

' Now, as the great Eeturn has to be effected next week, 
would it not be advisable for us to have a few days together 
before that event, so as to learn exactly what has been done 
on both sides? Otherwise there may be many awkward 
misunderstandings. 

' Come to-morrow, in time for dinner. You will find a 
house full of friends. The girls are in great force. 

' Yours, in the bonds of forgery, imposition, and treachery, 

' Dennv Stirling. 

' P. S.— What the devil do you mean by changing your 

old style — my style ?' 

5 



66 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

CHAPTEE V. 

kit's arrival. 

It was perhaps a pity that Denny forgot to say that he 
expected Kit : it was certainly a mistake that he did not go 
to meet him and prepare his mind with the view of avoiding 
certain accidents wliich might have been foreseen. But in 
a situation so unusual, it is difficult to provide against every- 
thing. 

Unfortunately Denny was entirely occupied wdth con- 
sidering this new leaf, turned, not by himself, but by 
another. Otherwise, he might have given a thought to 
Eosie. 

Now, when the station fly rumbled round the carriage- 
drive, at six o'clock, those who were playing tennis stopped 
in their game, and those who were talking or walking about 
desisted and looked up with natural curiosity as to the new- 
comer. 

It was quickly seen to be none other than Kit Cotterel 
himself, the man who had grown suddenly serious and 
plunged unexpectedly into profound depths of philosophy. 
He actually looked it. Instead of Kit, smiling and nodding 
to everybody, as was to be expected, had his approaching 
visit been known, there was seen, sitting well back in the 
open carriage, turning his head neither to the right nor left, 
a perfectly grave person approaching a company of complete 
strangers. The aspect of Kit, as grave as a bishop, caused 
the unthinking to shout and laugh. When he got out of 
the vehicle, instead of running round and shaking hands 
with everybody, he surveyed the company with face un- 
moved, and disappeared within the house. 

'Goodness gracious!' cried Sophia. 'He is playing his 
new part off the stage. Surely he need not pretend to be so 
absorbed in meditation as actually not to know us. His 
eyes fell upon me, and showed not the least recognition. 
Geraldine, am I grown young and beautiful again, for a 
miracle, so that I am no longer recognised ?' 

' You are always young and always beautiful,' said 
Geraldine. ' Kit is certainly full of thought. I never knew 
him like this before.' 



KITS ARRIVAL 67 

' My deal"; 1 feel as if a jug of cold water had been poured 
down my back. We are too frivolous to hd rccoguised. 
But we shall see him presently, I suppose ; and perhaps 
he will unbend a little. He will not descend quite to the 
old frivolity, of course ; but he will come down a httle.' 

Kit was taken straight to the library, where Denny 
awaited him. The young men shook hands ; but with a 
certain constraint, — a little suspicion, or, at least, jealousy, 
because each had to give an account of his stewardship. 

' You are looking very well,' said Denny, ' I think i have 
never seen you looking better. And of course I ought to 
know. 1 hope you hnd the — the quarters comfortable. 
They are more roomy than the old ones, though somewhat 
lower. I suppose you found the increase of capacity round 
the chest a little strange at hrst. The thickness of the 
legs would not trouble you much, nor a certain loss of 
straightness in those limbs : you hnd your foothold tinner ; 
and — -from certain symptoms — I should say that you found 
a healthier appreciation of drinks. Indeed, 1 sincerely hope 
you have been quite comfortable.' 

' Perfectly, perfectly : I am quite satisfied with the 
accommodation. And you?' 

' I have been very well, thanks. I was rather too tall at 
first, and found I knocked my hat about a good deal under 
the trees. And there was a little difficulty in persuading 
the organs to adapt themselves to certain habits requiring 
stronger action, i need only hint that you will find your- 
self capable of much more wine and Scotch whisky than 
before. ' 

' Quite unnecessary,' said Kit with some severity. 

' No excess, you know ; only good cheer and a healthy 
appetite. One is stouter, I think, in consequence. As for 
you, I think that you have fined down the lines somewhat. 
Face and figure alike are thinner. Dut that may be con- 
sidered — by some — an improvement.' 

' It is certainly an improvement. A complete change in 
the habits of life has produced the effect.' 

' Well — well — one can easily go back again. No great 
harm done, old man.' 

' Quite the contrary. You used to sit up half the night 
smoking more tobacco than was good for you, and drinking 
a ridiculous quantity of stuff. How coiUd you expect any 



68 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

work to he done with such habits as those ? I do not 
smoke at all, and I go to bed by eleven.' 

Denny laughed derisively. 

' When I took up my residence,' Kit continued, ' in these 
lodgings, the hand shook and there was a strong desire for 
drink every morning.' 

' There certainly was. But a single little whisky and soda, 
first thing in the morning, used to set that right.' 

' Those symptoms are now quite gone. There is no more 
need for a whisky and soda at any time.' 

' Oh — well — I suppose it's an improvement,' said Denny 
doubtfully. ' What do they say at the club ?' 

' I do not know. I have quite left oft' going to the club.' 

' Left off going to the club ?' 

' The men, I found, are accustomed to drink at odd times 
all through the day, and their conversation, though they are 
mostly literary men, seemed to me extremely unprofitable — 
all froth and sparkle.' 

' What more do you want ? Froth and sparkle ? Where 
else, I should like to know, can you get froth and sparkle ?' 

' In fact, I found that your former associates ' 

He paused, as one who does not wish to inflict needless 
pain. 

' I hope to Heaven you did not tell them what you thought 
of them.' 

' There was no necessity. I simply stayed away. I had 
my work to do.' 

' Yes. Somehow I always found time for the club.' 

' I gathered from the Editors to whom you were known, 
that my — your — reputation was that of a man able to turn 
out light and airy stuff — pleasant for the moment — -when he 
could screw himself up to the point of work. I assured the 
Editors that their view was a narrow one, and I brought 
them work of a very difl'erent kind. You will, I assure you, 
find yourself in a vastly improved position. You will never 
again be expected to write frivolous verse.' 

'Oh!' 

' Yes. And more than that : you have become an 
orator.' 

' So I hear.' 

' And a champion of the greatest cause ever advanced- 
nothing less than a complete reconstruction of Society ' 



KITS ARRIVAL 69 

' Don't ! . . Thank you very much ; but give it out in 
smaller doses — break it gently !' 

' To return, then, to your new habits. I rise every morn- 
ing at six, and get two solid hours of work before breakfast. 
After breakfast a sharp walk and then more work until one, 
when I take a little light lunch.' 

' A light lunch.' Denny laughed. ' Man, I used to take 
a solid steak and a pint of beer, with a pipe or two after it. 
A light lunch ! Why, there is no meal in the day more 
delightful than a good solid lunch, with a clear run of 
tobacco and talk after it, till dinner time.' 

' A sandwich and a glass of Apollinaris,' said Kit, ' some- 
thing that will not interfere with work. Then one goes on 
for an hour or so, after which it is time to go and see my 
Editor and talk over a subject. If I am to write a leader, I 
go away and set about it. I can generally get it done by 
eight — fortunately I am a quick writer. Then, of course, T 
have some dinner and go home. It is a good day's work, I 
think,' he added modestly. ' After that I merely make a 
few notes, look up a reference or two, and so to bed by 
eleven.' 

' Good Heavens ! What a life ! Why, it is all work — all 
work. It isn't life — there is no life in it.' 

' Don't be ungrateful. Consider what I have done for 
you. In three months — three short months — I have raised 
you from an occasional contributor of light articles and 
verses of Cockney-land to the position of leader-writer on 
a great daily. Instead of doing a review occasionally, when 
you could get it, for a weekly, and a poem now and then 
for a comic journal, you now discuss in the best magazines 
of the day the Condition of the People and Social Econo- 
mics,' 

' What do I know — what do I care — about the condition 
of the people ?' 

' You can read what I have written, which will guide 
you ; and then you must hasten to get up all the informa- 
tion you can find upon the subject. I have laid, in fact, the 
foundation of a splendid reputation for you, not to speak of 
fortune.' 

' And you've gone and changed my style,' groaned 
Denny. 

' Yes. It was formerly unfinished. Cleverness in it, I 



70 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

dare say, but sketchy and uufinished. You will find it 
improved, but, of course, you will have to write up to your 
new level.' 

' Thanks,' said Denny, grinning unmirthfully. ' You have 
been exceedingly kind. Have you, may I ask, enjoyed 
making all this mischief?' 

' Very much, indeed.' Kit's face lit up ; he became once 
more almost like the old Kit. ' To wake in the morning 
with the consciousness that only a day or two lies between 
yourself and destitution : to feel that you have got the work 
to do which will stave it off, and that you can do it and 
do it well, really was the most inspiriting thing 1 evei 
felt.' 

' Pity you cannot continue to feel inspirited. As for 
me ' 

' The heights where working-men live have a bracing 
air. And the food which one actually earns — how good 
it is !' 

' Glad you like it.' 

' When I began, with about fifteen shillings in my pocket, 
there were five weeks' bills unpaid to the landlady ' 

' More, I should have thought. But you know best. 
How has she behaved about it ?' 

' And the table was littered with accounts unpaid.' 

' People do get troublesome sometimes. You didn't let 
them worry you, I hope ?' 

' Worry me ? I had no ease of mind until I had paid 
them all — every one.' 

'Paid them all? Paid my debts? You? How the 
deuce did you manage that ?' 

'In the usual way. You do not suppose that I worked 
for nothing. After all, the bills taken together did not 
amount to much.' 

' No. One blushes, certainly, to think how small is the 
confidence, how limited the credit, of the individual. Even 
at the club there is no tick, and they won't cash cheques. 
But is it true ? Am I really square ?' 

' T believe so, unless there is something behind.' 

' My dear fellow, there couldn't be anything behind. My 
creditors are not the sort to allow anything behind. Well, 
I shall feel a little strange, at first— cold— without the 
friendly interest of my creditors, who will make no more 



KfT'S ARRf]\\l 71 

kind inquiries after my progress. I'liis is had I'oi' tlic.in, as 
well as for me.' 

' It was my clear duty,' Kit said severely, ' to pay your 
debts. A man in debt is nothing better than a slave. 
Until the debts were paid, 1 confess that I sneaked in and 
out of the house like a thief. I did not dare to face the 
woman of the house. I trembled, for fear of her just re- 
proaches.' 

' I am out of debt, then. I wonder how long it will last ? 
And money, perhaps, in your pocket ?' 

' You will find an account opened at the bank : there is 
something there — say, fifty pounds or so. There are also 
two or three papers as yet unpaid for.' 

' Fifty pounds? Good heavens ! Fifty ))ounds all at one 
time ! Fifty pounds !' 

Kit shrugged his shoulders. 

' Don't forget, if you please,' he said, ' that you have a 
character to lose, thanks to me.' 

' I feel grateful. As soon as I have lost it, I shall be 
more grateful still.' 

' Well, what have you been doing?' 

Denny sat down, and laughed. 

' When you know the whole, you will be pleased indeed. 
You have kept a lovely open house here. No end of 
deserving young people in distressed circumstances have 
been having a high old time. There have been feasting, 
dancing, singing, plaj^-acting, picnics, love-making, and 
universal happiness for three months.' 

' And now they will have to go back again to their 
humble work, and be made discontented for life.' 

' They were discontented before. I've done more — but 
you will find out when you come back,' 

' You have, in short,' interposed Kit angrily, ' turned the 
money to the most mischievous purpose possible. Every 
foolish gift or thing people wish to have, only makes them 
forget that what they want they must work for.' 

' If you had to work, my dear fellow ' 

' I have had to work for three months, and it's the 
healthiest time I have ever had.' 

' To be sure, I forgot. Well, that is what I have done. 
I have increased the happiness of people by giving them 
something pleasant to remember. And. as for you, T have 



72 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

created for you a character for general benevolence and good- 
natui-e, which you will find, I take it, as pleasant as it is 
unexpected.' 

' Benevolence ! I hate the very name. There ought to 
be no such thing as benevolence. Well, go on.' 

' No, my dear friend. I will not go on. Meantime, you 
will meet your friends, these girls and people, at dinner.' 

' I thought,' said Kit, in agitation, ' that you would only 
spend the money on your own amusements.' 

' And I thought you would just pawn my watch, and 
borrow half-sovereigns, and get on anyhow.' 

' I was a fool,' said Kit, ' not to have guarded against 
this.' 

' Perhaps you were. That reflection brings me comfort. 
I've had a glorious time, too. To wake up in the morning 
with the thought that there is no work to be done but to 
enjoy yourself : and if you think of anyone in trouble, all 
you've got to do is to help him out of it. Why, it's godlike ! 
It brings out a warm glow all over. Only a few days more, 
and I go back to the life which you have poisoned with your 
confounded activity.' 

' And I to the life which you have ruined by your abomin- 
able benevolence.' 

They stood facing each other, hands in pocket, chins stuck 
out, snorting a kind of defiance. 

'Take care,' said Denny. 'Fair words, my friend. There 
are still a few days left. Still time left to pauperise half 
London. Serve you right, too, for changing my style.' 

' If you conie to that, there is time to engage you for half- 
a-dozen more articles, which you will not be able to write. 
You and your confounded benevolence ! What right had 

you ' 

They snorted again, and glared at each other with such 
sudden boiling-over of wrath as, in the old days, would 
have impelled them to rush at each other with any weapon 
handy, such as a chair — which was beautiful either for 
defence or offence — or a poker or an umbrella — the article 
was formerly made strong for the purpose — or even with 
fists and feet. Next day they might have had a duel, or 
they might not, according to the courage of the assaulted 
party. This uncertainty lent additional attraction to the 
fight. Now that there are no duels there is no fighting, 



THE UNEXPECTED 73 

ana though young men sometimes quairel, their wrath is 
left a half-completed tale. The cheeks of these two, how- 
ever, were red, their eyes flamed, their lips were parted and 
their nostrils dilated, just as if they were actually going to 
fight. 

How the situation would have ended I know not. I fear, 
liowever, that it would have ended tamely, with a walk off 
in opposite directions. But at this moment a diversion 
was effected of a most surprising and unforeseen character, 
which altered, suddenly and completely, the whole situa- 
tion . 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE UNEXPECTED. 

FoK at this moment the door flew open and Rosie appeared. 

' Kit !' she cried. ' Oh ! you have actually come, and 
without letting me know you were coming !' 

There was nearly the whole length of the library between 
them. She came flying down the room, her eyes bright, 
her lips parted, her cheeks glowing, the sunniest, joyfullest, 
lovingest greeting on her brow, her hands outstretched, a 
welcome in every line of her slight and dainty figure. What 
lover in all the world but would have rushed to meet her, 
and to enfold in his manly arms so sweet a girl? 

Alas ! There could be but one. Denny, it is true, turned 
quickly, as if he was the welcomed lover : he checked him- 
self, however, blushing a violent brick-red ; and as for Kit, 
he looked round with lack-lustre eyes, and made no move- 
ment at all— not a step, not a word, not a sign of greeting. 

Nobody has ever seen such a thing, except, of course, at 
rehearsals, where, if something goes wrong in the love 
scene, the lover and the maiden alike have to let the love- 
light die suddenly out of their faces, to drop their passionate 
arms, and to stand aside till the point has been settled. 
But this was no rehearsal : this was a scene in the real 
Comedy of a woman's Life. Rosie caught the dull, stupid 
look, void of recognition : the light and joy suddenly 
vanished from her face : her hands dropped : she stood 
quite still, wonder-stricken. 



74 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

For her lover's face plainly asked, ' Who is this girl? I 
do not know her.' 

' Kit !' she cried, ' what is the matter '?' 

Kit looked from her to Denny, and back again. But he 
replied never a word. 

' Kit ! Kit ! what is it ?' 

She shrank back as if she had received a blow. 

' Pull yourself together, man !' cried Denny, roughly 
taking him by the shoulders and shaking him. ' Are you 
only half awake ? You will excuse him directly, Eosie,' he 
said. ' It is only a momentary weakness,' It might have 
occurred to Eosie that to shake a man violently by the 
shoulder is unwise treatment for momentary weakness. 
' Wake up, Kit ! Can't you see that it is Eosie — Eosie 
Eomaine ?' 

' Oh ! yes — yes — Miss Eomaine, of course.' 

' Is he ill ? Oh ! Mr. Stirhng — Denny — what in the 
world has happened to him ?' 

' I don't know. Man ! don't go off again.' 

' I am broad awake, thank you. Nothing has happened,' 
Kit said, coldly and slowly, with vengeful face turned to the 
other. 

' There, again — you can't have forgotten !' cried Denny. 
' Pull yourself together, I say.' 

' No — no — certainly not. Pray forgive me — Miss 
Eomaine.' 

Denny whispered something in his ear — something short 
and strong — but the girl heard it. 

' I think I had better go,' she said. ' I am sorry I can e 
at all. You seem to have been drinking. Kit, or you are 
gone mad — one of the two — and whichever it is ' 

' No — no ' — for now he perceived that he had really 
made some stupendous blunder — ' I am not mad — nor am I 

drunk — I assure you. The fact is ' he turned to Denny 

for support or explanation. ' Help me out, can't you !' he 
cried, in desperation. ' You have got me into the mess — 
help me out !' 

'Help him out !' cried Eosie. 'What does he mean? 
what can he mean ?' 

' Yes — yes,' said Denny. ' It is my fault. He arrived 
tired and overcome — I ought to have insisted on his taking 
rest — or a drink — or something. Instead of that — I am a 



THE UXEXPFCTED 7S 

blundering idiot, I confess — I brought him here to talk over 
business — and in our discussion — he has been greatly over- 
worked, which I ought to have known — only last night we 
were talking about it — you remember, Eosie. The papers 
in the Contemporary, you know, and the speeches about the 
new thingumlDob — you remember — and a great deal more 
that we did not know— change of style— a thing by itself 
that would kill most men — break-up with old asso- 
ciates ' 

He paused, partly out of breath, and partly for lack of 
invention. The most experienced inventor often has to con- 
sider w^hat next. 

' Pray go on,' said Eosie, looking at her shame-stricken 
lover. ' He has worked so hard that he has forgotten the 
girl who promised to marry him — wonderful effect of hard 
work, truly !' 

' No — no— no ; you misunderstand,' said Denny. ' What 
I was coming to was this, that while we were discussing a 
certain point we disagreed — disagreed — you know; in the 

heat of argument people frequently disagree ' 

' And so he forgets his friends !' 

' And all of a sudden Kit fell down in a fit. I had just 
picked him up when you came in. He was slowly recover- 
ing consciousness — of course he didn't know you. But he 
is better— you are much better. Kit, now — are you not? 
Eh ? steady— steady.' He seized his friend by the waist as 
if he was going off again— and pinched him in the fattest 
and tenderest part of the arm— so that he jumped. ' Shake 
hands with her,' he whispered— but the girl heard again. 
' Call her Eosie.' 

' Pray forgive me— Eosie,' said Kit, coldly extending an 
uncertain hand, while his face still betrayed an utter absence 
of recognition. 

She refused his hand with a gesture of indignation. 
' Is he somebody else ?' she asked. 

' I should have thought so myself,' Denny replied, ' if it 
hadn't been for that fit." Don't hurry him. He will come 
to himself again presently. Don't hurry him.' 
' How could he actually forget me ?' 

' Such a fit— it is of uncommon occurrence, and only 
comes to people when they have worked too hard — is suffi- 
cient to account for anything.' 



76 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' I am remembering again/ said Kit, lending a hand at 
last. ' Have I been saying anything foolish ?' 

' Let me look at you, Kit,' said the girl. ' Oh, you are 
very far from remembering yet. I should say, from your 
manner, that you have been drinking. That is my explana- 
tion — and if so ' 

' No — no — I never drink.' 

' He never drinks — now.' Denny still interpreted. 'For- 
merly he had a praiseworthy swallow — now he never drinks. 
We must forget this painful incident. Lay the blame on 
me. The nervous system is easily shaken, and once out of 

gear — you know ' 

' He is as strong as a bull,' said the girl. ' He is out of 

this mysterious fit — now, at any rate — and look at him. 

Why, he doesn't know me yet. Kit — Kit — Mr. Arthur 

Christopher Cotterel — are you clean out of your senses ?' 

' No — no — I shall be all right presently — not to know you 

— Miss Eomaine — Eosie ' 

' Miss Eomaine, again ? Oh ! it is too ridiculous. You 
are playing with me, sir.' 
' No — no,' he murmured. 

' I assure you,' said Denny, 'that what has happened ' 

' I want his explanation, Denny, not yours,' said the girl. 
' Why, he looks at me still as if he wondered who I am. 
Let me refresh your memory, sir. I am Eosie Eomaine, 
and I live at Chelsea, and I am a painter — a water-colour 
painter — and you, after assuring me that you were in love 
with me, made me promise to marry you. I have had letters 
every other day from you for the last three months : one 
came yesterday morning, in which you said absolutely 
nothing about coming here. Now — have you anything 
further to say? Do not help him, Denny, if you please, to 
make up anything. Let him speak.' 

' No,' said Denny. ' Let him keep silence till he has 
recovered.' 

' Well, I will leave him. To stay with him in his present 
condition is impossible. Understand, sir, that I must have 
from yourself, and not from Denny, or any other friend, an 
explanation of this — this outrage.' 

' Yes,' Denny murmured in wrath irrepressible, ' it is an 
outrage^ — it is nothing short of an outrage.' 

' Then, sir ' — she continued to address her lover, who 



THE UNEXPECTED 77 

stood with hauging head, not dahug to say a word — ' when 
you are able to talk rationally, 1 shall be ready to listen 
Till then ' 

She turned and swept out of the room with the dignity of 
an offended Queen — but with trembling lips. When she 
reached her own room, and not till she had shut and bolted 
the door, she sat down to cry. Kit loved her no longer — 
that was certain : his face, his eyes, his words, his manner 
— all showed he had actually clean forgotten her. Was 
ever girl more cruelly insulted ? And from her pocket she 
drew her last letter in the dear old handwriting — with the 
dear old phrases — ending with the dear old words, ' I love 
you — I love you — I love you.' Oh ! the fond lover ! And 
the next day he had forgotten her. He must be ill — some- 
thing terrible — some sudden shock must have happened. 
And her heart presently softened. Kit could never have 
behaved in such a strange manner unless he was suffering 
from something — never — it wasn't possible. She would 
wait and hear what he had to say. 

' Confound it all !' cried Denny, stamping his foot, when 
she was gone. ' This is the most unlucky chance — the most 
frightful accident — that could have happened. Couldn't 
you see, man ? How on earth . . . Here's a girl comes 
rushiug into the room with her arms out, and calls you by 
your Christian name, and you stare at her like a blank 
idiot ' 

' How w^as 1 to know ?' 

' Why, you donkey, you are engaged to her !' 

' W^eil, you ought to have told me before I came. It is 
all your fault.' 

' Engaged — now you see what you've done. You've made 
me look as if I'd forgotten my own sweetheart. That's all 
— forgotten my girl — the sweetest and most lovable little 
girl that ever lived. That's all ! Great heavens ! That's 
all!' 

' Well, why didn't you tell me ?" Kit repeated stolidly, 

' Because 1 wasn't going to have you going about in my 
shape to make love to her.' 

' Well, then, why did you send for me here V 

' I forgot what might happen. I do forget sometimes. 
It's the awkwardness of this business that one has to be 
always remembering, and guarding against things.' 



78 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Well, tlie only question now is, What is to be done ?' 

' I don't know. Make up something. Go on having 
giddy tits. Be overworked. Go on being giddy. Eeei 
aoout. Stagger,' 

' i will do wnat I can,' Kit replied gravely. ' The situa- 
tion is delicate, 1 confess.' 

' Delicate or not, you have got to get out of it, somehow. 
Mind, you must — you must — you must.' 

' Am I to make love to her V I don't want to ; but if you 
think I ought ' 

' I suppose ' Denny changed colour — ' I suppose you 

muse — to a certain extent — -pretend. There will ue a row 
royal in any case. Perhaps it would be better to let things 
slide till this week is over. But she won't allow it. She 
means to have it out at once. Well, I suppose,' he con- 
cluded doubtfully, ' that you must make love.' 

' Oh !' Kit looked more doubtful still. ' I don't like to 
ask impertinent questions, my dear fellow — but in these 
matters — want of experience. . . . One would like to know 
how far one may go — what is expected and allowed,' 

' Here's a chap !' cried Denny, ' One would think he 
had never made love to a girl in liis life. Oh ! I would get 
up and confess the whole business if I thought she would 
believe it. But she wouldn't. Sue would tnink it was a 
put-up job. No woman would ever be got to believe it.' 

' After all, it's only a lovers' quarrel. She'll make it up 
and come round fast enough, when we've had a little 
explanation. I shall tell her about that tit again,' 

' Will she come round ? If I know that sweet girl, it 
won't be quite so easy. Hang it all ! not to recognise your 
own girl — and, mind, — she doesn't believe in that tit. She 
thinks you are drunk — 1 saw it in her eyes. She didn't 
believe a word about the tit from the beginning.' 

' Well, 1 will do what I can. Of course I must call her 
by her Christian name — Eosie? Who is Eosie? How 
long have I been engaged ? Tell me all and make haste 
about it. A very pretty interruption to work this job 
promises to be.' 

' And mind,' said Denny, after impressing these and other 
points upon him, ' the house is full of your old friends. 
Don't pretend not to know them. Don't be standoffish 



THE UNEXPECTED 79 

with them, because they dou't expect such treatment, and 
they won't have it, and they'll visit it upon me next week 
if they get it now.' 

' Well, tell nie beforehand who they are.' 

' There's dear old Sophia Gentry, the painter.' 

' Never heard of her.' 

' Well then, pretend to have heard of her — shake hands 
warmly with her. You may kiss her, if you like. I think, 
indeed, she will expect it. Everybody kisses Sophia.' 

' I don't want to kiss her.' 

'There's Geraldine— tall, good-looking girl— remember 
you've been friends from childhood. She'll want a little 
private talk — and you must tell her everything. But you 
mustn't try to kiss her, because she isn't that kind of girl 
at all — even with her oldest friends. Well, then there's 
old Pinder, to whom you refused the loan of half-a-sovereign 
the other day. You'll find him rather distant in conse- 
quence.' 

' A disagreeable-looking old man with a red face and a 
loud voice? I remember him. No— I should certainly not 
lend that man anything.' 

' Well, then there are others— mind you laugh as if you 
were glad to see them. Oh ! and as for Eosie — but it is 
too late for you to explain anything before dinner. You 
will sit next to her, and you had better sigh and let her 
understand that you are getting slowly better. Don't drink 
anything but Apollinaris. That'll convince her, if anything 
can, how ill you have been. Kit Cotterel must be very far 
gone indeed when he lets the champagne pass him — or the 
claret either — or the port — or the sherry. Oh ! Lord — 
Lord ! how shall I ever make it up with Eosie ? Poor 
child ! Poor child !' 



CHAPTEE VII. 

WHAT HAS COME TO HIM ? 

Kit obeyed his instructions in so far, that he came down 
to dinner late — so late, that they did not wait for him. 
He dropped into his place, which was next to Eosie on one 
side and to Sophia on the other, with a smile and a bow to 
the latter — who took his hand and held it affectionately. 



8o THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' My dear boy,' she murmured, ' we are all so proud of 
you. I must learn all about it after dinner.' 

But there was something in his manner which chilled 
her, and she dropped his hand, looking at him with surprise. 
The others all welcomed him as ' Kit the Philosopher — Kit 
the Preacher — Kit the Moralist,' laughing as if the new 
character was a really excellent joke. He laughed in reply, 
but coldly, as one who would be taken seriously. 13ut 
Mr. Pinder regarded him with offended dignity. As for 
Eosie, she addressed not one word to him, but conversed 
with animation with the man on the other side. This was 
remarked, naturally. Again, it was remarked that Kit not 
only told no stories, but laughed at none. Nothing could 
be a greater proof of radical change in him than the fact 
that he neither told stories nor laughed at them. Finally, 
if more proof was wanted of his changed condition, it was 
observed that he drank nothing. A small bottle of Apol- 
linaris stood before him, which he did not finish. The 
sparkling wine and the claret he refused. 

' Kit,' said Sophia, ' you have grown silent. Can you 
not leave London and your work behind you ?' 

' I have brought my work with me.' 

' Oh, but you must rest and take a holiday.' 

' I have a good deal to finish within the next three days. 
After that, I cannot tell ' — he sighed — ' how much holiday 
I may take.' 

' Well, Kit — but we are not always working. Not at 
dinner, for instance. Where are your old spirits ? Where 
are your stories? Why are you so stiff with your old 
friends ?' 

' Am I stiff? Indeed, I am sorry.' 

' Look at Denny. You seem to have given him all your 
spirits when you gave him your songs.' 

' Perhaps I did. Don't you see that when one's mind is 
occupied with really serious things, it is impossible to be 
always laughing and telling stories ?' 

' In your case,' said Sophia dryly, ' it would seem so. But 
you should not fall into the opposite extreme. There is 
such a thing, my dear Kit, as a wet blanket.' 

In fact, although Denny did his best to keep up a cheerful 
flow of talk, there was a shadow upon the table caused by 
the presence of this transformed butterfly, who was now a 



WHAT If.lS COMF. TO IHM ■ 8l 

I'liilosopher. rroin "rub to buttertly we know, hut not 
IVoiii butterfly to grub. 

lUit when they went into the drawing-room llie shadow 
seemed for the moment removed. They all, except Rosie, 
flocked round Kit, ' Oh, Kit !' cried one. ' Come, Kit !' 
cried another. ' Now, Kit,' cried a third, ' sit down and 
sing one of your old songs. Denny sings them all, and so 
exactly like you, that we want to know which sings them 
the better. One of your old songs, Kit.' 

They led him, passive, to the piano, and made him sit 
down on the music-stool before he had time to refuse. He 
even went so far as to touch the keys with his fingers, then 
he started up — remembering that he could not play or sing 
a note — not even after the manner of the young man who 
lives next door, and interprets the finest music with soft- 
ness, colour, and sympathy by the aid of the forefinger 
alone. 

' No,' he said — ' not to-night.' 

' Oh ! yes — you must — you must. Ask him, Rosie.' 

' If you cannot make him, I cannot,' said Rosie coldly. 

' I neither play nor sing at all,' he said blankly. 

They all burst out laughing. This, indeed, was about as 
bold and impudent a falsehood as was ever uttered. Why, 
the man was bubbling over with music of the soft and senti- 
mental kind ; of the Bacchanalian kind, or of the love kind 
—willingly at all times would Kit sit down to sing hymns. 
Ancient and Modern, in praise of Venus or of Bacchus — of 
love and wine. And as he sang, his light voice rolling 
above the rippling of the notes, his face would shine and 
beam, and his lips would so laugh and he would be so 
happy in the exercise of his power, that everybody loved 
him. And Denny behaved in exactly the same manner 
with equal enjoyment and equal command of the instru- 
ment, and with the same laughing eyes, so that the people 
were divided in opinion which of them played and sang 
the better. Mostly they found a superior delivery in 
Denny's rendering, and some thought that he played with 
greater finish. I believe that the superiority was due to 
personal comeliness, in which point, without doubt, Denny 
had the advantage. x\nd if only for his singing, Denny was 
now as popular as Kit had been. No young man is so 
universally beloved, as he who can play and sing with ease 

6 



82 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

and freedom, and as if he enjoyed it himself as much as his 
hearers. Witness the popularity of Mr. Corney Grain, who 
really must enjoy his own singing and playing, just as much 
as the people whose mouths he keeps open and whose eyes 
he keeps dancing. 

' I cannot play,' he repeated, without laughing, — ' I mean 
I cannot play to-night. I have no voice — and I — I had a 
little indisposition — a giddy fit — after I arrived this evening' 
— he looked towards Eosie, who cruelly kept her face 
averted — ' and, in fact, I must not attempt any music to- 
night. ' 

' You have had an upset of some kind,' said Sophia, ' that 
is very certain.' 

' Quite certain,' said Denny. ' Of course you must not 
play or sing to-night. Best for a few days is what you want. 
Don't think. Kit, of trying to sing. Next week as much as 
you please. I'll sing you a song — one of your own songs, 
Kit — written before you began to instruct the world from the 
pages of the Contemporary .' 

He sat down and ran his fingers over the keys lightly and 
pleasantly — this preliminary touch of the fingers is like the 
kiss of two lovers — and then he sang. 

' It is exactly as Kit himself used, to-night,' said Sophia 
Gentry. ' I have heard him sing that song a dozen times. 
Denny, have you no style of your own ?' 

' No, only a variation here and there of Kit's. You don't 
mind, Kit, do you? You wouldn't like your style changed 
— would you ? Not even to be improved ?' 

Then Mr. Finder bore- down upon him with the demand 
for an explanation written plainly on his face. 

' We haven't seen you lately at the club,' he began. 

' No — I have been too much occupied of late to spare the 
time. I cannot waste my time, as some men do, in idle 
talking at the club.' 

'It is a great pity, sir, let me tell you,' said Mr. Finder 
savagely, ' when young men give up habits of good fellowship, 
and pretend that work is the only thing for which they were 
brought into the world. A very great pity, sir, let me tell 
you.' 

He retired without asking, or obtaining, any more ex- 
planation. But this kind of talk does not promote cheerful- 
ness. There fell a constraint upon the party. The people 



WHAT HAS COME TO IIIM ? 83 

looked at Kit with increasing wonder. It was a miracle. 
Like all miracles, it would not last long. Presently, they 
tliought, he would change again into his old self : he would 
sit down and begin tinkling the piano and singing one of the 
songs for which he was so famous. It was not in Kit's 
nature to keep serious very long. They would wait. 

Nobody said these things, but everybody thought them. 
One of them, however — Geraldine— took him quite seriously. 
She sat down beside him when he had extricated himself 
from those who wished him to sing, and began talking to 
him in a confidential voice — not a whisper, but a low tone 
which is not intended for the whole world to hear. A young 
lady can only talk so to a man if she is a very old and inti- 
mate friend, almost a sister. 

'Kit,' she said, 'tell me truly — is it a settled change of 
purpose, or only a passing fancy ?' 

' It has been settled for three months,' he replied. ' If it 
will last another week, I should say that it will always con- 
tinue. You know ' — he smiled gravely — ' there are crises 
and dangerous points in everything — we are now on the 
verge of a very important crisis indeed.' 

' Your look is settled, Kit : your eyes are grave. These 
are very good signs. Oh ! you are so very right. It was 
indeed time to throw off the indolent trifling which affected 
your friends so much. Life cannot be all singing and telling 
stories. But you must not give up singing altogether, for 
the sake of those who love to hear you.' 

' I shall sing again in a few days, I dare say.' 

'After the crisis is weathered? And what does Eosie 



say 



' She finds me changed,' he said shortly. 

' Why, so do all of us. Of course you are changed, but 
for the better. We are proud of you, remember that — ten 
times as proud of you as when you thought it the finest 
thing in the world to go to the club and sing your songs to 
the men there.' 

At this moment Denny began to sing another of the ditties. 
Truth to tell, the lines of the ditty had just a little touch of 
the music-hall about them, and there was a tag or refrain 
which also suggested that Institution for the formation of 
national taste. 

' No, Kit,' said Geraldine, ' I was wrong. You must give 



84 THE DOUBTS OF DH'ES 

lip singing these songs : they would be incongruous for you 
henceforward. A man who writes on such subjects and in 
such a style — a man who addresses crowded audiences on 
grave and important questions — cannot sing those songs any 
more. Promise me to sing them no more.' 

' Ask me next week ; I cannot promise anything just now.' 

' Let Denny go on singing them : they suit his light and 
sparkling character. He is like a bottle of champagne, so 
full of life and spirit. But they suit you no longer. The 
songs seem part of him ; he is of a disposition so sunny, so 
generous, and so — so like what you wished formerly to seem, 
Kit. The verses are all about happiness and sunshine and 
feasting : they suit a man like him, who is so rich and has 
no sense of responsibility : he laughs at effort : if he sees 
suffering, he relieves it on the spot : and he is quite as lazy 
as ever you were. Kit.' 

' Or ever will be again,' he replied, smiling. 

This young lady, he now perceived, was an extremely 
beautiful girl, quite unlike the pretty little creature upon 
whom his clumsy hoofs had trampled. She was tall and 
stately : she possessed a countenance of great beauty, set 
and serious. She sat close beside him and talked with a 
si sterly affection and sympathy, very delightful to any young 
man, particularly to one who had never seen or spoken to 
her before. 

' I wanted to speak to j'ou as soon as I could, Kit. I 
wanted to come directly after Eosie, you know, just to tell 
you how happy the change has made me. Oh ! I have been 
waiting so long, looking for the Kit of the old days, the brave 
boy who was filled with noble ambition and lofty ideals, and 
nourished with the greatest thoughts and words of the 
greatest men. I knew very well that he would come back 
to us some day. Such a boy might wander out of the way ; 
he might stay down below in the valleys for a while, but he 
would be sure to climb upon the mountains again. I waited, 
and I had patience, because I was so certain that he would 
come back to his old dreams.' 

Kit murmured something. The girl's deep eyes spoke 
volumes of joy and gratitude for the return of the Prodigal. 

' The frivolous, idle dreamer, the indolent Kit of the last 
five years, has quite gone, has he not ? Quite, quite gone. 
Never to return ' 



WHAT HAS COME TO HIM? 8"; 

' I caunot say ; ask me again in a few days, iu a week.' 

' When this terrible crisis shall have passed ? But, 
remember, you have always told me everything.' 

' It is so long,' he nmrmured, ' since we have known each 
other, is it not ?' 

' Why, Kit, all our lives we have played and talked 
together — since I was a little girl of three and you a boy of 
eight. ' 

' Yes, so long — so long. We are such old friends, 
Geraldiue. I fear — I tremble ' 

' Why ?' 

' I fear that the frivolous idler and dreamer may return. 
h\ a few days you may see him back again.' 

' Be true to yourself, Kit, and this can never happen.' 

He shook his head. 

' I tremble,' he said, ' Geraldine, even with you at my 
side ' 

' With me at your side ? But you always have that, if 
you choose — and, besides, you have Eosie.' 

There was not the smallest touch of suspicion or jealousy 
in her voice. She meant what she said : 

' You love Rosie : she will make you happy.' 

* Even if I had you,' he added, with a look of admiration 
in his eyes that had never belonged to the old Kit. Indeed, 
in these old boy and girl confidences there never is any 
admiration on the part of the boy, though there may be 
plenty of worship on the part of the man. ' Even if you 
were always at my side, I should tremble to think what 
might happen. Because, you see, what I have done has 
now advanced to a stage where a strong man is required ; 
and I know not whether I have the strength, the courage, 
or the perseverance to continue the work.' 

' There is a touch of Kit the dreamer — not Kit the man 
of action. Strength? You are full of strength. Nobody 
knows your intellectual strength better than I do. There is 
nothing. Kit — nothing in the world — that you cannot do, if 
you only choose.' 

Denny interrupted them. 

'Eosie is in tue library,' he said. ' Will you go to her, 
Kit?' 

He administered a warning frown, as Kit rose quickly 
and departed 



86 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES • 

' What is the matter with them, Denny ?' asked Geraldine. 
• Everybody noticed that they hardly spoke to each other 
during dinner.' 

' Rosie came running into the Hbrary at a most unfor- 
tunate moment. Kit, you see, was over-heated, or overdone, 
or something, and he had a sudden giddiness— nearly fell 
over — had to sit down — kind of fit.' 

' Kind of fit ? That seems alarming. Kit never had 
such a thing before.' 

'No? Comes of hard work— that kind of fit. Those 
articles, you know. Well, Rosie came at the moment when 
he was just recovering. And, in fact, for the moment he 
did not recognise her — seemed not to know who she was — 
and she was a little put out ; thought it was neglect. Now 
he's gone to make it up with her. Five minutes will square 
it. Lord ! they've had a hundred quarrels. She was 
always flying out at him for laziness and debts and late 
hours. And they always kissed and made friends again. 
I'll give Kit ten minutes to make it right.' 



CHAPTER VIII. 

LET ME EXPLAIN. 

' Now, sir,' said Rosie, tapping her foot impatiently. 

' You saw w^hat happened,' he began. 

' Saw what happened ? Of course I did. Saw what 
happened ? Pray, sir, if you knock a man down with a 
bludgeon, do you begin your apologies by asking him if he 
felt what happened ?' 

' Please let me go on. I am all impatience, Rosie, to set 
this matter straight.' 

' Go on.' She turned her head aside as if she could not 
bear even to look at him. She was in a tempestuous mood 
which Kit's strange behaviour about the singing had not 
gone far to calm. 

' I was going to say that when you came into the room — 
I was not, for the moment, myself.' 

' That you need not tell me. The question is how long 
it will be before you are again yourself ?' 



LET ME EXPLAL\ 87 

'I am uow— again — iiiysell',' liu replied; buL with a 
faltering voice, because he felt that the statement would 
hardly bear defence. 

' No, JNIr. Cotterel, you are not. xVnd until you can make 
me understand what this means — what is the reason of this 
conduct ' 

' Indeed, I do not know in what words to assure you of 
my sorrow and pain — at what must, I own, seem incom- 
prehensible ' 

' Sir — you only make things worse.' She drew herself up 
and spoke in the iciest tones. ' You now say that you havt^ 
come to j-our senses, and that you know at last the girl to 
whom you are engaged. You recognise her again. Why, 
it is 1 now who do not know you. Where are you gone ? 
What has become of you ? W' hat evil spirit possesses you ? 
Why do you speak to me like this ?' 

He made no reply. 

' Have you any complaint to make of me ? Have 1 
offended you in any way ? If so, it must be since the day 
before yesterday, when I received your last letter. Here it 
is.' She drew a letter from her pocket. ' Perhaps you 
will at least remember writing this letter. Look at it. 
That is your handwriting and that is your signature, I 
believe. ' 

' Yes — yes — of course I remember very well. Am I to 
read it ?' 

' Eead it aloud.' 

' " Dearest and best of girls " ' 

* Am I the dearest and best of girls ?' 

' Certainly. Of course you are.' , 

At this point he should have dropped the letter and taken 
her in his arms and had no more discussion. But this, 
unfortunately, he neglected to do. The old Kit, whenever 
they quarrelled, always made it up that way, and perhaps 
Eosie expected a repetition of the treatment. 

'Either you are telling the most shameful of falsehoods,' 
she said, ' or you have acquired quite a new manner of tell- 
ing the truth. I don't like the new manner. Go on !' 

' " Dearest and best of girls — I have nothing to tell you — 
no news to give you — e.^cept that I am 

' Stop ! You had no news to give me. You had been 
writing all these papers — you were going to make a great 



88 THE DOUBTS UF DIVES 

speech — you were coining down here on a visit — you had 
caused yourself to be talked about — and you say that you 
have no news to tell me ! Eeally, I think you must be 
clean gone off your head.' 

' No news — I meant — that would interest you.' 

' You think so meanly of the woman who is — or was — to 
be your wife, that you do not even tell her such news as 
that of your own complete transformation. And this is the 
man who used to tell me everything !' 

' I meant to surprise you ' 

' No — no. You didn't care enough for me to tell me 
anything. Go on. Finish your letter.' 

' " No news," ' he went on, ' " except I am always and 
always and always, with ten thousand kisses, your lover — 
your lover — your lover." ' 

' Do you mean that still ?' asked Rosie, giving him a second 
chance for the familiar treatment. 

' Certainly — of course — why not ?' he replied. ' I assure 
you ' 

' Yes ; but you needn't assure me. You have now 
recovered. What is the good of all those assurances when 
I can see with my own eyes the change in your manner 
and in your looks ? Kit ' — she turned upon him fiercely — 
' you no longer love me ! Now, don't protest and assure— 
because it is no use. Good gracious ! Do you think I 
cannot see very well ? Have I no eyes ? Have I no 
memory? You no longer love me ! Tell me — -I ask again 
— have I offended you in any way?' 

' No — no — no — not in the least.' 

' Then how can you write in the old manner one day and 
two days afterwards meet me with such a change ?' 

' I can only explain as I have already tried. I have been 
too busy, perhaps, to think much of such things.' 

' Too busy ? But you have written to me every other 
day.' 

' Yes — yes — no doubt. But ' 

' And long letters, too. It was by your advice that I 
came here when Geraldine asked me to come with her.' 

' You see — it was a sudden thing — a kind of fit.' 

' Don't, Kit,' she said earnestly. ' Do not add more 
falsehoods to the pile you have already heaped up. I 
wonder '—she pressed her head with her hands — ' if we are 



LET ME EXPLAIN 89 

both in our senses. We can't be — 1 must be uuid or you 
must be mad. Do you suppose I believe that story about 
giddiness ? You were not giddy. You simply did not know 
me. Oh ! what can it mean ? What can it mean ? What 
has happened ?' 

' What should happen ?' His voice was constrained. 

' It is so terrible that I am frightened,' said the girl. ' My 
own lover does not know me. When he hears who I am, 
his eyes follow me about as if trying to make out who I am. 
He sits beside me at dinner and says nothing — and when I 
look into his eyes I find that the old look has gone out of 
them. The man has actually forgotten the girl whom but 
yesterday he said he loved.' 

'No — no — Eosie ' — -he pronounced the name with an 
effort — ' I am not really changed. You are mistaken. It 
is only that I have been greatly occupied and perhaps over- 
worked, and — and — you will forgive me, Eosie. I will go 
away again to-morrow, and come back in a day or two — 
next week — and you will find me the old Kit again. Will 
you forgive me ?' 

As if remembering what is due from an accepted suitor, 
he made an attempt, but feebly, to lay his hand upon her 
waist. The girl shook him off with a shudder. 

' No, Kit — not with that look in your eyes. No ! It is all 
over between us. You can leave me now. It is all over, I say.' 

' All over '?' 

' W^ell, why doesn't the man go? I say it is all over — all 
over — all over,' she repeated, raising her voice. ' Good 
gracious ! what did you expect '? What did you want ? Do 

you think that after Oh, it is absurd ! Go away, if 

you please, Mr. Cotterel.' 

' Oh, I say !" — Kit seemed to awaken suddenly — ' I must 
set this right somehow. Look here— Eosie — well, then — if 
it must be ' — it was unfortunate that he sighed at this point, 
because a sigh is often the outward sign of inward satisfac- 
tion — ' if it must be — don't send me away like this. Let me 
go away to-morrow — as I proposed — and come back in a 
week. You will see then. I promise you faithfully that 
I have not changed.' 

' He doesn't understand — even yet— the enormity of the 
thing he has done!' cried the girl. 'He can't under- 
stand it.' 



go THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Give me a week. It is all I ask.' 

'No — I will not. But — well, something is due; there 
may be something to explain — some way out of it. I will 
give you two clays. If, in two days' time ' 

' It is too soon. I want a week.' 

' If in two days' time I see the old look back again — then 
— then — perhaps I will ask you for explanations. If you've 
fallen in love with some other girl,' she added coldly, ' of 
course it would be much better to tell me so at once, and 
have done with it. If not, in two days I shall expect the 
old look back again.' 

' The old look ? Now — I ask you, how can I compel the 
old look to come back if it won't ? Where is it — the old 
look? x\ man can't alter his eyes.' 

'I will give you two days,' she repeated — 'two days 
more. If by the end of that time you are not again the old 
Kit— why, all will be over between us. Do you quite under- 
stand? Two days.' 

' Make it six,' he said with the air of one who pleads with 
his uncle for a higher advance. ' Only make it six, and I 
am sure — oh ! I am quite sure — that the old look will come 
back.' 

' Oh ! you cannot be in your right senses. This is absurd. 
Why make it six ? No. If in two days I do not see the old 
look and hear the same voice ' 

' You don't mean that the voice is changed as well as the 
eyes !' 

' Your eyes are the same as they always have been. They 
are common gray eyes. Quite,' she added icily, ' of the 
common kind. And your voice is the same, I suppose — 
rather a high pitch in it, nothing unusual in your voice. 
You have the same face, too — not an uncommon face — and 
not a very beautiful face either. Your nose is much the 
same — short and broad — and your mouth hasn't greatly 
changed in three months. It never had any shape to speak 
of ' 

' Pray go on,' he said. 

' Y'^our figure is much the same as it used to be,' Eosie 
added, — ' short and thick. I certainly did not accept your 
hand because anything that belonged to it was beautiful. 
As for your manners, they are not aristocratic. And as for 
your customs, they are lazy and shiftless.' 



l.ET ME EXPLAIN 9I 

' Well ■." 

' Seeiug all these things — that I took you in spite of 
everything and knowing everything tliat I had to expect — 
I can only say that if my promised lover comes to me, after 
three mouths' absence, with all the love gone out of him — 
out of his eyes, out of his voice, out of his face, out of his 
manner — why, he may give me back my promise and go 
away. For I will have no more of him. And that is the 
last word.' 

' No more of him,' he repeated. 

' No more of him. Two days, therefore, I give you. Two 
days. Duriug that time you will not walk witli me, sit 
beside me, talk to me, write to me, or use any of the 
privileges of a lover. A lover ? Oh ! With that voice and 
with those eyes ! And not to know me again ! Not to 
remember me !' 

She rau away, leaving him alone. She ran out of tlie 
library into the garden. 

'lam sorry for Kit,' he murmured. ' I really am sorry 
for Kit. But it's his own fault. Why couldn't he have 
come to town instead of making me come down here ?' 

Was it by accident, or was it by design, that Denny was 
on the terrace when Eosie ran out from the librar}- ? 

' You have seen him ?' he whispered. ' You have made it 
all right with him ?' 

' No, I have not. You will please not to ask me anything 
about him at all. Something dreadful has happened to 
Kit.' The tears rose to her eyes, but she brushed them 
away for pride's sake. ' I wonder if he has been so 
horribly bard up that he can think of nothing but his 
debts ?' 

' He has no debts. He has paid them all and he's coin- 
ing money. Fifty pounds he has accumulated — actually, 
fifty pounds ! Why, it is opulence — and all for your sake.' 

' Mine ? For my sake ! Please do not let me hear any 
more falsehoods ; I have heai'd too many already.' 

' I could not tell you — about myself — anything but the 
plain and simple truth. Kosie, I conh.l not.' 

She broke away and ran down, alone, into the dark 
garden. Denny looked after her with something like a tear 
in his eyes. 

Then Kit himself came out, lookmg uncomfortable. 



92 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Well ?• 

' I've had it out with her,' he replied. ' It isn't well. 
Look here — you know — you can't expect a man to show in 
his face and his voice and his eyes that he's in love with a 
girl he never saw before. They can't do that even on the 
stage.' 

' It's the most blundering business I ever came across. 
Of course she expected to see — what she always used to 
see. Besides, if you were half an actor ! As for acting, if 
a man can't fall in love with Eosie at first sight, he isn't a 
man — he is only a — a — a writing machine.' 

' Thank you. But I don't happen to care much about 
your very little women,' said Kit coldly. ' Venus was five 
feet six, I believe. In point of fact, I have not fallen in love 
with Miss Eomaine.' 

' Wliat did she say?' 

' Just exactly what you might expect. She is deeply hurt 
and offended. As for her forgiving me — or you — I don't see 
how she can. The thing is too flagrant.' 

Denny said something which was really needed in order 
to satisfy his feelings. 

' In a week's time, when you begin to plead with her 
yourself, I fully expect, old man, that you will get what at 
your club they call, I believe, the Boot — the Boot. Mind, 
it is all your own fault. Don't blame me.' 

Denny made no reply at all. 

' I've begged for a little time. I asked for a week — you 
understand why. I'm to have two days only. That is all 
she will give. If, in two days' time, I can give some kind 
of explanation and can show that I have recovered the old 
eyes and the old manner — why then, perhaps Other- 
wise the Boot, my friend, the Boot ! ' 



CHAPTER IX. 

WITH FRIENDS SO OLD. 

Breakfast began at half-past nine. As a general rule 
everybody was tolerably punctual at this, as at every other 
meal. Eosie, for her part, appeared fresh and smiling as 
if there had been no quarrel or anything at all out of the 



WIT 1 1 ]'RIEM)S SO OT.D 93 

common on yestereve. Yet such a thing wlien it liappens 
is immediately whispered all over the house. The Temple 
of Fame has, you see, many departments. In the lowest of 
all, the goddess employs messengers who are made to run 
about perpetually on domestic business, picking up tittle- 
tattle, whispering things that happen, things that have not 
happened, things that ought to have happened, and, above 
all, things that ought not to have happened, in the ear of 
everybody in turn. Some of the messengers, however, of 
this department — those who are very active — are engaged 
in working up the personal paragraphs for the papers. He 
who had been told off for special service in this house, there- 
fore, went round industriously to the pillow of every young 
lady in turn and told her, murmuring in her ear, so that 
the words sounded like the very breath of her sleeping self : 

' There has been a quarrel between Kit Cotterel and 
Rosie. He received her to-day as coldly as if he did not 
even know her. She is very angry and threatens to break 
it off.' 

It must, I say, have been one of these messengers who 
had conveyed this information in a secret midnight manner, 
because everybody knew exactly what had happened. Yet 
Rosie had told nobody except Geraldine and dear old Sophia 
and one or two more, and these under promise of confidence 
the most inviolable. Everybody knew it, and all were pre- 
pared to meet her as a drooping lily, with murmuring words 
and the kiss of condolence and some of the luxury of woe. 

She walked in, however, with no external signs of wanting 
sympathy or condolences. A smile w^as on her lips and 
resolution sat upon her brow. She took her seat and 
nodded to everybody with even more than usual spright- 
liuess, and accepted food readily, as if a lovers' quarrel was 
apt to make one hungry. This conduct caused universal 
admiration. Thus, it was felt, should every girl, who knows 
what is due to herself, receive and resent the coldness of a 
lover. Where there is no ardour, there can be no love. To 
hang the head and weep in a corner is unworthy the name 
of British maiden. Only those who had observant eyes 
discovered that the girl's cheek was a little flushed and her 
eyes a little too bright. But to show no outward sign or 
token after such a rupture, or, at least, such a very pretty 
quarrel, is like coming out of a fight without a scratch. 



94 THE DOUBTS OF DH^ES 

Fortunately the other combatant was not present. He 
had the grace to stay away. That awkwardness, if any, 
was spared the poor girl. Kit gave his friends no oppor- 
tunity of observing how far his coldness was real or fancied, 
and Denny sat beside the deserted one paying her all the 
attentions — it was afterwards remembered — of a lover. 
But she received them passively. 

It was the day of the last picnic. They all made haste 
to talk about it. Every morning they arranged their plans 
for the day, and divided into parties, and made up matches, 
games, plays, and the rest of it. But four days more and 
the holidays would be over. Then, once more to London — 
once more to the weary round of work — once more to the 
search for the honest employer, and for the remunerative 
work — ^once more, for most of them, short commons in the 
way of luxuries, and, in the way of social pleasures, starva- 
tion. Therefore there was some sadness already hanging 
over the party — the shadow of approaching change. 

As for the unlucky Kit, this absurd lover, who had 
actually forgotten that he was in love, and knew not even 
the face of his mistress, he got up earlier than the rest and 
went forth into the meadows and the stubbles, probably 
with the hope of warming his poor frozen heart in the 
sunshine. He did not return until the picnic party had 
gone. Then he went into the library, sat down at a table, 
spread out his books and papers, and in one minute became 
as much absorbed in his work as if there had been no 
Eosie at all. In fact, there was no Eosie to him. She 
belonged to the other fellow — it was not his love-quarrel. 

Presently the door opened softly and he looked up. It 
was Geraldine — the girl who had been Kit's ancient and 
familiar friend. He was safe with her : she it was who 
applauded the great transformation and was proud of one 
so industrious. 

She walked to his table, her face full of sweet sei'iousness, 
and laid her hand affectionately upon his shoulder. 

' Kit,' she said, ' when I learned that you were not going 
to join the party, I thought I would stay at home too, so 
that we might have a good talk together about many things. 
Are you too busy for a little talk ?' 

' I am always busy,' said this working bee, ' but never 
too busy for you, Geraldine.' 



11777/ FRlE\nS SO OLD 95 

' Fancy you always busy ! it is too delif^htful. Oh, the 
change ! Tell me how it came about — this wonderful 
transfoi-mation.' 

' Well — as I said before — at twenty-seven one has played 
long enough.' 

' That hardly seems a sufficient reason. Never mind, the 
thing has happened, and oh ! dear Kit, we are so proud of 
you, and so happy !' Iler eyes became humid. ' The lazy 
and careless time is over and gone — all our disappointments 
are ended — that is enough.' 

She would have said more, but her voice broke. She 
laid her hand upon his and pressed the back of it — quite a 
sisterly method of hand-pressing. 

' You think too much about it, Geraldine,' he said. 

' No, no ; I cannot think too much about it. Come — tell 
me, first, what you are writing — verses ?' 

' No, certainly not. What I am doing here — I have only 
two or three days to finish it in, I must make haste — is a 
paper on a question of Colonization. I studied it on the 
spot — that is to say, I have got all the information as near 
first-hand as possilDle.' 

' Put it aside for five minutes, and tell me, Kit, what is 
this trouble about Rosie ?' 

' What is it ?' he repeated. 

' You know, of course, that she is excessively hurt and 
pained by your coldness.' 

' I believe she must be. I am sorry.' 

' She came to my room last night and had a great cry 
about it. She says you actually did not know her.' 

' I told her — I explained.' 

' And she says that you love her no longer. What can 
it mean, Kit?' 

' It means what I tried to explain to her — if she would 
only believe me,' 

Well, Kit, explain to me. You have known me long 
enough and well enough to explain everything to me.' 

' It is difficult,' he said, leaning back and dropping his 
eyes, ' to make things quite clear. l''ou see it is three 
months since I have seen Rosie.' 

The girl remarked that he pronounced her name with an 
effort, instead of lingering over it fondly. 

* Yes : it ih three m.onths. But y^u have written to her 



96 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

constantly, and always with the most ardent profes- 
sions.' 

' I suppose — force of habit — force of habit,' he repeated 
with an impatient gesture. 

' Well — but, Kit^ — Kit — what does this mean ? Force of 
habit ?• 

' When she came running in, my mind was otherwise 
occupied and I — I — in fact I was not thinking of her, and 
perhaps I looked — I may have looked for the moment — as 
if I did not recognise her. Only for the moment, you 
know.' 

' Yes — yes — that is what Eosie tells me. You offered to 
shake hands with her, but in so cold a manner that she was 
simply terrified. And she declares that your manner and 
look all the evening were those of a man talking to a woman 
to whom he has just been introduced.' 

' That is her imagination.' 

' Well, but ' — she persisted, ' I cannot understand. Do 
you remember how you came running to me four months 
ago with the joyful news that Eosie was going to make you 
happy ? Do you remember, my dear boy, how your voice 
broke and your eyes filled with tears while you told me 
about her ? What has become of all that rapture ?' 

' Where are the snows of yesteryear ? Why tax me with 
the mood of a day gone by ?' 

' Is it possible — no. Kit, it is not possible — that you have 

changed your mind ? If that is so ' She broke ofi', 

because indeed she did not know how to finish the sentence 
without a condemnation too grave to be hastily pro- 
nounced. 

' I asked her for a week — she will only give me two days. 
I have assured her that if she will only consent to give me 
a week, everything will come right again. But she won't. 
That is her obstinacy, you see. If she would only give me 
a week.' 

* Why a week ?' 

' Well, Geraldine, all I can say is, that just at the 
moment I am so much occupied with other things that — 
that — well, in a week I shall be more free — you will see 
then yourself. Your old friend will come back to you, per- 
haps, as careless and lazy as ever.' 

' I want my old friend to stay as he is — thoughtful. 



WITH FRIENDS SO OLD 97 

studious, and industrious. My old friend as he was, — Kit 
frivolous, lazy, and dreamy — I want to see no more. But 
there is no reason why my old friend's heart should be 
changed.' 

Kit made no reply. Affairs of the heart are always 
delicate things to speak about. 

' \Yell, what shall we do then ?' 

' Make her give me a week, that is all I ask. Five days 
will be even enough.' 

'Why? This is nonsense, Kit, stark staring nonsense. 
Why a week any more than a day? If you love poor 
Eosie still, you can tell her so to-day — or to-morrow, if 
you like — just as well as next week.' 

' It does seem so, doesn't it ? Yet — never mind Rosie ; 
tell me about yourself, Geraldine, Are you happy here ?' 

His voice perceptibly softened, and his eyes betrayed an 
interest in this young lady which he had not shown at the 
mention of poor Eosie. 

' Oh ! yes. Denny is most kind and generous. I have 
never before had such a holiday — you know that very well. 
Kit' 

' Of course. How could you ? How could you ?' 

It is to be remarked that though he knew no more and 
no less concerning the affairs of Geraldine than he knew of 
Eosie, the former did not find out his ignorance. 

They talked together for two hours, in which the girl 
was drawn on to speak of her aspirations and ambitions, 
and the young man sympathized. 

'We may not meet this evening,' said Kit, when she 
would stay no longer. ' I was allowed two days. It will 
be best for me to spend this interval out of her sight.' 

' But — consider. Kit, — don't you want to see her, and to 
be with her all the time ?' 

' No, I do not. If she would only give me a week.' 

' Oh ! you are mysterious again. I shall go. Kit ' — she 
laid her hand upon his arm — ' don't overdo ambition. 
Leave some room for love. You should put away your 
papers and come out, and put on a cheerful front as if you 
knew it would all come right.' 

' Oh ! I know it will all come right. Of that I have no 
doubt whatever,' he replied carelessly; 'but it will take 

certainly six days, and if she would only ' 

7 



98 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

Geraldine shook her head, laughed, and ran away. 

Kit took up his pen again and resumed his work. 

But the face of the girl came between him and his hard 
facts and harder logic. How can one reason calmly and 
dispassionately with a girl's face between one's eyes and the 
paper ? 

' Good Lord !' he murmured. ' He has been in the com- 
pany of that beautiful creature — that queenly woman — 
pretty well all her life, and he goes and picks up that little 
insignificant creature who Now — if -' 

But here his thoughts became too tangled for continuous 
speech. At such moments the brain goes ofi into half-a- 
dozen lines of reflection, all working at the same time. 
They are difficult to follow and impossible to interpret, or 
translate into speech. 

' If ' — he thought : we are all of us perpetually thinking, 
devising, contriving, lamenting, with this little conjunction 
at the beginning. ' If she knew ' — of course she did not 
know — ' would her heart, like every other woman's, harden 
at the prospect of wealth so enormous ? No — surely no.' 

He had learned from his own experience that there are 
other women who do not continually desire a vast income 
and the gratification of boundless desires. 

He tried his work again. A second time he threw down 
the pen. He got up, walked to the window and stepped out 
upon the terrace. Lying on the grass under the walnut- 
tree he descried the young poet, the boy Eobbie Lythe. He 
was lying supine, his head upon his hands, apparently 
asleep. Beside him was a volume of Keats. So lay Keats 
himself upon the grassy slopes of Hampstead to gaze upon 
the other grassy slopes which rise to Highgate, the last oaks 
of the old Middlesex Forest lying between. 

Kit watched the boy with interest. He knew the symp- 
toms. Indeed, this Kit — not the other — knew a very re- 
markable quantity of things. He marked the boy's hair — 
fine, silky and abundant : the upper eyelashes long and 
curled, the lower lying on the cheek : the fine oval lines and 
the delicate hue of the cheek : the blue veins showing on the 
back of his hand and on his temples. While he watched, 
the boy half-awoke, rolled his head, and opened his eyes. 
They were liquid eyes, glistening and full. He closed them 
immediately, and seemed to fall asleep once more. 



WITH FRIENDS SO OLD 99 

Then there came walking slowly along the terrace, his hat 
in his hand, his brown velvet jacket thrown open to the air, 
the veteran Art Critic, Mr. Pinder. 

' Ah !' he said, ' I thought you were off with the waggon- 
load of women this morning. Pleased I was to get rid of 
their cackle for an hour or two. Watching that poor lad? 
Sad look out for him — very.' 

' A case of Struma Beautiful,' said Kit scieutilically. 

' Struma what '?' 

' Struma Beautiful. I should say, already in a somewhat 
advanced stage. There is languor and lassitude of the limbs. 
I dare say he has had a cough for a long time, — he is short 
of breath.' 

' Well, man, if you mean that Eobbie Lythe will go oil in 
a consumption, I suppose we've all known that for a long 
time.' 

' In a little while he will lose his beauty,' Kit continued, 
as if he had been a physician : ' the oval face will lose its 
curves : his cheek-bones will show : his nose will grow 
sharp : his hands will waste : his mind will grow languid : 
he will go on getting worse, and suddenly he will die. I 
have read of such cases and have seen them in hospital. 
Each one is a warning and a lesson, if men were not too 
foolish to learn. All our diseases — all our sufferings come 
from ignorance and the blindness which never sees anything. ' 

Mr. Pinder stared. Kit the scientific — Kit the moralist — 
was beyond him. 

'Kit, Kit,' he sighed, 'how changed ! It fatigues the 
brain to think of you. And all in three short months : well, 
no one thought you had it in you.' 

' You see I did have it in me,' Kit replied coldly. This 
old man irritated him. 

' Don't overdo it, Kit. Not too much zeal. I dare say it 
makes you feel mighty virtuous and superior. The fellows 
at the club are left far behind. But don't overdo it ; don't 
come the moral philosopher over us. Leave us unrebuked. 
Now, Kit, if you have anything left of the old Adam, let us 
get our pipes and a tankard of something cool — the beer in 
this house is perfectly lovely, — and find a shady corner and 
have a talk.' 

' Thank you, I have work to do and I never drink in the 
mornin"' 



loo THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Well,' the old man sighed. ' Stop a moment, Kit. There's 
nobody to talk to in the house ; don't go in. Look here, 
Kit, about that half-sovereign ?' 

' What half-sovereign ?' 

' That insignificant coin which you refused to lend me the 
other day.' 

' What does it matter ?' 

' No, no — stop ! The coin is nothing ; it is the refusal 
that sticks. It wasn't like you, to refuse that little loan. 
You ought to have been gratified — honoured— by the request. 
In your old age, when I am dead and gone, you will have 
to confess that Pinder — Pinder, the Art Critic — Pinder once 
asked you to lend him half-a-sovereign, and you refused. 
This will gnaw like an adder's tooth. Besides, the thing 
showed a spirit of suspicion — a nasty, tradesman-like, arith- 
metical spirit.' 

' Why so ?' 

' Who counts what he lends or what he borrows ? We 
lend each other a sovereign here and half-a-sovereign there ; 
who can keep account of such trifles ? When all is told, 
nobody owes anybody anything ; we are even. The slate is 
wiped clean, and we begin again. Only rich men keep 
accounts. That is why one should not desire riches. I say 
no more. But I confess. Kit, that I was sorry for you, very 
sorry. In one so young, too, and so hard-up.' 

' I am not so young, my dear sir ; and I am no longer 
hard-up.' 

'You accompanied your refusal with maxims, too — 
maxims ! Well, I can never again borrow of you ' — he 
shook his head sorrowfully, — ' never again. You are changed 
indeed, my poor young friend.' 

Kit was touched by the sincerity of the good old man's 
lamentation. 

* My dear sir,' he said kindly, ' we all change sometimes. 
Wait a week or so, and perhaps you will find me changed 
back again.' 

' Let us hope so. You are missed at the club, too. Other 
fellows can sing and play, but nobody so well as Kit — the 
old Kit. Denny Stirling sings your songs now, but not so 
well. Kit — not so well. Other fellows can tell stories, but 
none like Kit — the old Kit. Denny Stirling tries. He tells 
stories, your stories, too ; but not so well, Kit — not so well. 



WITH FRIENDS ,90 OLD lOI 

Let us hope, indeed, that you will come back to us. What 
profits it, my dear young friend, for a man to get articles 
into the Contemporary , if he also becomes a solemn prig?' 

He was an old man, otherwise these words would have 
been resented. 

' Well — well,' he went on, ' Dixi. I have liberated my 
soul. Enough about you. Now about other matters. Tell 
me — between friends, you know — something about this young 
Croesus.' 

' What about him ? He is an old friend of mine.' 

' So am I. But this young fellow I have only known since 
I came here. He finds champagne every evening — the very 
best of champagne,— and Scotch after it — and really the very 
softest old Scotch I ever drank. Now, you know, hospitality 
like this is really a direct invitation to borrow. Therefore, 
advise me. Kit. Twenty pounds? Too much, you say? 
You really think twenty pounds too much ? He's rolling in 
gold, you know.' 

' I say nothing,' Kit replied with severity. ' I am not 
prepared to advise you at all in such a matter. Since you 
came here as a guest, I must say, however, that it would be 
more dignified to borrow nothing.' 

' Kit Cotterel,' — the old Bohemian drew himself up with 
offended pride — ' at my age, and with my experience, I may 
be allowed to know what is due to dignity. Understand, 
sir, that a gentleman may always borrow without the 
sacrifice of personal dignity ; I have myself borrowed for 
forty years. He cannot, it is true, accept gifts ; he may not 
take money. But he may borrow — he may borrow — without 
loss of self-respect. Eemember that, sir.' 

He clapped on his hat, and walked away with much dignity, 
murmuring phrases that began with the letter cl and ended 
with the syllable prig. 

Kit heard the words with superior pity, unmixed with 
scorn or wrath. He looked at his watch. It wanted half- 
an-hour of luncheon ; then he would meet Geraldine again. 
But Mr. Finder would be there too ; therefore, there should 
be no more confidences. 

Then the boy lying on the grass raised his head and called 
him : 

< Kit — Kit Cotterel, I saw you last night ; but I couldn't 
get in a word. And you looked so worried that I didn't try 



I02 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

twice. What has worried you, Kit ? To-day you look so 
serious, so nervous. Is that because you have become a 
great writer all at once ? Won't you write any more verses? 
Come over here and talk to me. Don't ask me to get up 
and leave this shady corner ; the grass is soft and the light 
is soft,' the boy murmured, as if the mere physical enjoy- 
ment was almost more than he could bear. ' Come over 
and sit beside me, Kit ; this place is heaven ! I am full of 
lovely thoughts all day long, if I could only write them 
down. Oh ! what poetry there will be when we reach to 
fulness of strength and perfect language ! But it will not 
be all at once ; we shall be always learning. Just now, 
only to lie on my back, with the dancing flicker of green 
shade and of sunshine playing through the leaves, and to 
hear the drone of the bees, and to feel the breeze, is 
happiness ; and to have you with me as well. Kit, it is too 
much.' 

' Are you better ?' asked Kit, wondering who the boy 
really was. 

' Oh ! I am ever so much better than when you saw me 
last, three months ago. I had a bad time, rather, in July ; 
I think I should have died for yearning after the green 
fields and the woods, if this invitation hadn't come. It was 
through you that it did come. I have never thanked you 
for it. Well, Kit, I shan't now, because it was nothing but 
your way — always trying to do something pleasant for some- 
body. I've had the most wonderful holiday here,' he sighed 
heavily ; ' it is nearly over, but it will be a memory when 
I go back.' 

Looking at this lad, Kit remembered certain words of his 
own about the wonderful power of suffering as an example 
and a stimulus, and he thought that he should somehow like 
this boy not to become an example and a lesson to humanity. 
A thought unworthy of a philosopher. But it crossed his 
mind. 

' Have you talked with Geraldine since you came ?' asked 
the boy. 

' Yes, we had a little talk last night, and we have had a 
good talk this morning.' 

' We have been talking a good deal about you, especially 
since the splendid news came. We don't agree ; I want 
you to go on writing verses, but she wants you to develop 



117/77 FRIEXDS ,90 Of.D 10,3 

the more serious side. Don't quite give up verses. Oh ! 
to "write such verses as Keats wrote — where every line rings 
and rings in your brain ! Kit, think of that ; you might 
produce something as good. Don't quite give up verses.' 

' I cannot say — just yet — what — I shall do.' 

' Geraldine is ever so much better and stronger than she 
was before she came. She is perfectly splendid now. I 
say, Kit,' — he looked round to see if anyone was looking 
— ' do you think I shall offend you if I ask you a question 

' Ask as many as you please.' 

' You are such a good old friend to me, and so is Geraldine. 
It is a very impudent question, but it is in my mind always 
whenever I see Geraldine and you together.' 

' Ask the question, you will not offend me.' 

' Don't you think Geraldine a splendid girl — one of a 
million — the best girl that ever was ?' 

' Certainly,' Kit replied, with assurance. ' I am sure she 
is all that she looks.' 

' There is nobody like her, is there ? Nobody so unselfish? 
Look in her face ; it is the face of Beatrice. Only to look 
at her face lifts up the heart,' his limpid eyes grew dim 
with the ready tears. ' I say. Kit, in her presence it is 
impossible to be mean and low — all base thoughts fly shriek- 
ing at her approach. As for me, I worship her ; I fall at 
her feet.' 

Kit sat down on the grass beside the boy, whose enthu- 
siasm interested him. Besides, he felt a desire to talk and 
to hear more about Geraldine. 

' You worship her ? I do not wonder at it.' 

' I am unworthy to speak to her, but she suffers me. 
Kit, you know how kind you have been to me, how should 
I have got along at all without you? It always seems to 
me that it is Geraldine who has helped me, and not you. I 
put you two together always — and when you have helped 
me out of your poverty, I always think it is Geraldine who 
has done it with you. She knows I love her, and I think 
she knows that she is my goddess — my spiritual, not my 
earthly mistress ! But you — Kit, you !' 
' What of me ?' 

' You have known her all her life. You used to play 
with her, and you used to tell her all your ambitions. She 
has never ceased to watch you and to pray for you. And 



I04 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

now you have come out so splendidly she is so proud and 
happy ; I cannot tell you how proud and happy she is ' 

' Well, and what of me ?' 

He understood now the question in the boy's mind, but 
he wanted to hear it put plainly. 

' What I wonder is — every day — why you, who know her 
so well, do not worship her also.' 

Kit made no reply. He got up and walked about the 
lawn ; then he came back again. 

' " Out of her poverty," you said. Is Geraldine still so 
poor ?' 

' What a question for you to ask ! Can she ever be any- 
thing else ? Just before we came here she was very poor 
indeed, because there was poor dear Sophia Gentry, you 
know — none of her pictures have sold this year, and what 
she will do when we go back we do not know. We are all 
so poor — so poor.' 

' All so poor,' Kit repeated. 

' But we stand by each other. Kit, it makes me wonder 
to see them all here. They go on as if they were born to it : 
they dance, and sing, and play as if they had been doing 
nothing else all their days. Well, Denny is the kindest and 
most generous man in the world — almost as generous as 
you. Kit.' 

' And when it is over, you will all go back more discon- 
tented than ever.' 

' No, no — filled with lovely memories. Discontented, after 
such a holiday as this ? Kit, you are unreasonable.' 

Kit nodded gravely and went back to the library. 



CHAPTEK X. 

AFTEE LUNCHEON. 

At the mid-day refection Geraldine did not appear. Mr. 
Pinder, still disposed to growl like the skies after a thunder- 
storm, Kit, and Eobbie Lythe represented the whole party. 
The boy quickly finished his luncheon and left the other 
two, betaking himself to the drawing-room, which he could 
have to himself the whole afternoon, unless Geraldine should 
happen to come and sit beside him. Here he would lie at 



AFTER LUNCHEON 105 

full length on cushions in one of the deep windows, and 
watch the sunshine on the leaves without, or the Hght 
playiug on the painted coats-of-arms and the panels and 
dark furniture of the long low room. This was his inten- 
tion, with the further thought of enjoying every moment of 
the time, so that nothing should be lost or forgotten when 
in the dark winter to follow he should remember this holiday 
for his solace. 

Alas ! he presently fell asleep, and so lost the whole after- 
noon ; though in his dreams he was carried to the Heaven 
in which only young poets are allowed, there to be filled 
with thoughts ineffable, which even the greatest of poets 
cannot interpret into speech of man. 

When Mr. Pinder, who still preserved the respectable 
wreck of a once colossal appetite, had done justice to the 
lunch, he clutched a decanter — a movement familiar to all 
who have watched the veteran toper — and poured out three 
glasses in succession, which he drank, not hurriedly, yet 
with eagerness. 

' Ha !' he said, pausing after the third, ' this is the wine, 
Kit, which we can't get at the club. Madeira of some kind 
is on the list, I dare say, though I have never heard of any- 
one calhng for it. To drink Madeira is a profession of 
wealth. To place Madeira on your table is a proof of 
wealth. It is the wine of the rich : it looks rich : it tastes 
rich : there's a rich man's self-complacency about it : there's 
an oily, unctuous self-satisfaction which belongs to the rich 
man : it demands the finest glasses and the noblest decanters. 
It ought to be on the table of every man who has made his 
money.' 

' Denny Stirling hasn't made his money.' 

' No ; but his uncle did — Sam Stirhng — who wasn't so old 
as I am by half-a-dozen years. The cursing it was, I believe, 
that killed him.' 

' What cursing ?' 

' Now I come to think about it, the very last person I 
should have expected to meet under this roof is that boy 
who had lunch with us — Eobbie Ly the— the very last 
person. If it's accidental, it's a very curious and interesting 
accident. The very last person. I wonder he doesn't pull 
down the pillars of the house ! I wonder he doesn't snatch 
the carving-knife and pi'od his host in a vital part !' 



lo6 THE DOUBTS OF Dn'ES 

' Why the last person ? Why shouldn't Eobbie Lythe be 
here ?' 

'Don't you know? Your father knew, and Geraldine's 
father — everybody who knew Tom Lythe knew the story. 
I should have thought you had heard it long ago. But all 
his friends are dead, and I suppose the thing has been pretty 
well forgotten. Sophia Gentry knows it. Dear me ! when I 
die, Kit, what an immense quantity of miscellaneous scandal 
will be forgotten ! It doesn't get into the memoirs. If I 
could only write the things I have heard ! Nobody's real 
life has ever been written — not even Rousseau's or Saint 
Augustine's. Now, there's the story of Sam Stirling, the 
millionaire. What a tearing and a rending of reputations 
there would be if I could write all that I have heard and 
seen !' 

He took another glass of Madeira, shaking his head sadly. 

' As for Robbie Lythe,' said Kit, fencing, ' one can see 
that he is consumptive. What else should I know about 
him?' 

' Try this Madeira. No ? You have turned over a new 
leaf, Kit, and it's a reproach to your elders. You are 
become Kit the sober, Kit the moral maxim-maker. Kit the 
corrector of morals, Kit the censor, for which you deserve 
to be expelled from the club. You are also Kit the indus- 
trious. You think you are going to lay the foundation of a 
cellar of Madeira all your own, I suppose. Well, you will 
never get that cellar ; don't think it. They won't allow you 
to get rich — the people who pay the writing-man. When 
you are as old as I am you will very likely be as poor, with 
the bitter reflection of feeling that all your work has gone 
to make others rich. Now, I haven't done that. If I am 
not rich myself, no one can say I have made him rich. No, 
sir ; that thought brings comfort. There is no successful 
book of mine which has made a publisher rich. Well ' — he 
pushed back his chair and got up — ' you can go and slave 
for some editor or bookseller ; I shall go and have a quiet 
pipe in the smoking-room, and a nap.' 

' But about Robbie Lythe. Sit down again, man, and 
tell me all about it.' 

Mr. Finder took up the decanter. There were still two 
or three glasses in it. He sat down again, his fingers curled 
lovingly round its neck. 



AFTER r.rS'CIIEOX ^07 

' Well, I knew his father, Tom Lythe. Very old friend of 
niine, Tom was.' 

' What had his father to do with this roof ?' 
' I knew Tom early in life, when he was bright and clever; 
and I knew him late in life, when he was soured with dis- 
appointments. At one time— a few years before his death 
— I thought he had got over the trouble. Certainly, he 
seemed settled down to steady and generally cheerful drink- 
ing. But in his last illness it all came back to him. I was 
with him when he died, and he died very wretchedly. 
Lamented his wasted life, and compared his career with 
that of his old pal, Sam Stirling ; and he cursed him for the 
cause of everything — cursed him solemnly, cursed him 
with his dying breath, cursed him and everything belonging 
to him.' 
•Why?' 

' And, after twenty years, here is his son a guest and 
friend of Sam Stirling's nephew and heir !' 

' What does it mean ? Why should the man curse my— 
Mr. Stirling?' 

' They are both dead now, he who cursed and he who 
was cursed. Nobody could stand up against curses so 
tremendous. Sam Stirling died a year or two afterwards. 

I suppose no one told hhn about the curse, and yet 

Well, the world goes round, and here is the boy in this very 
house.' 

' You have not told me why this cursing was necessary?' 
' Tom Lythe cursed his old pal because, you see, Sam 
Stirling stole his invention.' 
' What invention ?' 

' Don't you know how that enormous fortune was made?' 
' Yes — yes, I know.' 

''.Well, Tom invented the thing, not Sam Stirling at all 
Ble'ss you ! Sam never invented anything ; he was too 
stupid. He made Tom work, and stole what he made.' 
' Stole is a strong word, Mr. Finder.' 
' So it is, Mr. Cotterel. You needn't look so savage. 
Sam wasn't your uncle, and you are not any the richer for 
his rogueries, are you ? Stole, I said. Sam stole the 
invention, and grew richer every day ; while Tom, from 
whose hands it had come, grew poorer and poorer.' 
' Oh ! Is this true, I wonder?' 



io8 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Fact, I assure you ; quite true. Tom told everybody. 
There wasn't a bar in Fleet Street or the Strand twenty 
years ago where Tom's story wasn't known. To be sure, 
the men he told it to were all soakers like himself ; and 
after twenty years there are not many left of any set of 
soakers. They are all dead except me.' Mr. Finder's 
Madeira had the effect of making him repeat his words. 
The wine of the rich will do this. ' Bless you ! I don't sup- 
pose that Denny Stirling has ever heard of the story, or 
Eobbie Lythe either.' 

' I assure you Denny hasn't.' Kit sat up eagerly. ' I 
am certain that he hasn't the least suspicion — how should 
he have ?' 

' Tom told it to me a hundred times ; he even wrote it 
down for me. He wanted me to make a play of it — and I 
did think, once, that it might dramatize. That was a good 
time ago — five-and-twenty years ago — when I still thought 
of making plays. Yes, there is a situation in it. Pity I 
didn't work it up when I was still youngish and strong. 
Dear me ! what a man I was at five-and-forty !' 

' What was the situation '?' 

' Old Sam Stirling made his money by ' 

' Yes, yes; we all know that. Get on.' 

' Tom Lythe and Sam Stirling were apprenticed to the 
same shop — mechanical engineers they were — and they were 
afterwards employed in the same works. Pals, they were. 
One day Tom, who was an original kind of a chap, made a 
discovery. He's told me often what it was : but I never 
understood wheels and cogs and things. Everyone to his 
trade. Tom was a clever chap, but he was a fool. There 
are two kinds of clever chaps. Kit.' The old man leaned 
back in his chair, and rolled the glass about in his fingers ; 
he also stretched out his legs and wagged his head, showing 
that he was physically comfortable, and that he was in no 
hurry to terminate this conversation. ' Two kinds — two 
kinds — Kit, my moral and superior young friend. There's 
the kind which invents, creates, and discovers — and is sub- 
sequently robbed, plundered, and turned stark-naked into 
the street. I am one of that kind — every man who writes 
belongs to that tribe. So are you ; so are all the fellows 
at the club. That's the reason why there's no Madeira like 
this to be found there. The second kind contains those 



AFTER LUNCHEON 109 

who' see their way how to make the first kind produce all 
the work for them to rob. That is the set to join. If you 
are wise you will pass over to that camp where they have 
Madeira every day — stuff like this. See how it clings to the 
glass ! Just so doth Dives cling to his fine gold and his 
precious stuffs. Molten gold this is — nothing less than 
molten gold.' 

' Can't we get back to the story ?' 

* There is not much story ; it's done every day, wherever 
men work. You see, Kit, men are so wonderfully and fear- 
fully made that they work, they throw their best work, they 
bring all their powers, their inventions, and their contri- 
vances, and lay them at the feet of their employer, though 
they know him to be a greedy grinder and a sweater. Yes, 
and they will sell the finest invention, just as they will sell 
the most wonderful book or the most splendid picture — 
whether on a canvas or in print — for next to nothing to the 
first crafty man who comes to buy it.' 

' We are coming, I suppose, to an end before long ?' said 
Kit impatiently. 

' We have come to the end of the story, and to the last 
glass in the bottle ' — Mr. Pinder poured it out as he spoke. 
' I am sorry. Kit, that you would have none, because it 
really was a most beautiful bottle of Madeira. There is no 
more story, in fact. Tom Lythe made his discovery ; his 
friend Sam Stirling got possession of it. How he got it 
matters nothing ' 

' You said he stole it.' 

' Well, Sam became a millionaire out of Tom's invention, 
and Tom remained in his poverty. When one man gets 
rich out of another man's brains while the inventor remains 
poor, the first man is a thief and a robber, Kit. Is that 
good political economy ?' He pronounced the last word 
with some difficulty, but his meaning was clear. 

' No ; that is very bad political economy, because what- 
ever a man can buy becomes his own, whatever the price he 
has paid for it. Did my — did Mr. Stirling purchase Tom's 
invention, or did he steal it?' 

' The situation of it in the play which I never wrote was 
something like this : Sam has found out — never mind how 
— that his friend has hit upon an invention ; Tom has told 
him in general terms, if you like. Then Sam sets his wits 



no THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

to work to find out what it is, and he can't. He watches 
his friend in the engine-rooms : he hangs about his desk : 
he searches his drawers, but he can't find anything ; 
because, you see, Tom has his notes in his pockets all the 
time. At last Sam makes him drunk, and whilst he is 
drunk he steals the notes, copies them, replaces them in 
the drunken man's pocket, and next day goes and registers 
the invention.' 

' Did that really happen ?' 

' Perhaps ; I cannot say. The situation wasn't a bad 
one, and I don't remember ever seeing it on any stage. 
Perhaps he made Tom drunk, and then persuaded him to 
sell his right. There was drink in it, I know.' 

' One would like to know exactly how it was done, or if 
it was done at all.' 

' It was done, somehow : Sam got rich — Tom grew poor : 
Sam remained a rogue and a thief — Tom became a poor 
drunkard. When all secrets are revealed. Kit, my boy, I 
would rather be Tom than that other fellow.' 

' Are you really sure — certain — that some such thing 
happened ?' 

' I am perfectly certain — as certain as I am that this 
bottle is empty — that Sam Stirling never invented anything. 
He was a lumpish kind of man, with small eyes close 
together, indolent in body and sluggish of brain. He 
invent ? No, sir ; but he could deceive and steal. Many 
a man has got the low cunning which enables him to prey 
on men's brains.' 

Kit, flushed and agitated, sprang to his feet. 

' I am very sorry you have told me this story — and yet 
I ought to know it. I cannot tell you how sorry I am to 
learn that shameful business ' 

' Why, what does it matter to you ?' 

' Perhaps we can hunt up the thing, and prove the exact 
truth. Perhaps we may make up to the boy for this 
treachery, if it was treachery ' 

' Well, Kit, you may be devilish clever ; you may write 
very fine articles : but you can't very well make up for the 
loss of a million or three millions — they say it is three 
millions.' 

' No — no, of course not ; and yet ' 

' Sam Stirling wasn't your uncle. Better let sleeping 



AFTER LUNCHEON iii 

dogs lie. The boy knows nothing about it, and Denny 
Stirhng knows nothing. Best say no more about it.' 

' It is disgraceful — it is shameful. It is enough to poison 
the life of the man who has got that fortune, only to 
feel • 

' My dear Kit, these are heroics. The thing is done — 
Tom is dead ; and he cursed the robber, and the robber is 
dead.' 

' But the boy survives.' 

' Very true ; and, considering all the circumstances, I say 
again, that it is curious, to say the least of it, to see Tom's 
son enjoying the hospitality of Sam's heir, and both in 
ignorance of these little facts. And now, my dear boy,' — 
he rose slowly and deliberately, — ' Madeira, if you drink a 
whole bottle, is apt to get into the head a bit. I shall go to 
the smoking-room, and sleep it off.' 



CHAPTEK XI. 

THE PICNIC. 

L\ this favoured land there is everywhere within easy reach 
a ruined castle or a ruined abbey or a British hill-fort or 
a Roman camp. They have been left untouched by succes- 
sive generations, in order that young people may have a 
place for picnics. So that thew^orks of the great destroyers 
—King Harry the Eighth, who ruined the abbeys, and 
King Cromwell who slighted the castles — remain to keep 
their memory green, as much as the massive piles of the 
dread Sovereign, Great Cheops himself. "When the young 
man sits among these ruins, a dainty damsel at his side, 
his seat a mound which covers broken tracery, shattered 
mullions, and precious carved work ; when he gazes down 
the long roofless nave, upon the wreck of the once noble 
west front, and murmurs a tender whisper in the ear of his 
companion : when to these joys he adds the wing of a 
chicken and a goodly slice of toothsome ham, with salad 
from the salad-bowl and a bumper of champagne ; and 
when he thinks of the pale-faced nuns who wandered once 
about the broken cloisters, that young man is moved to 



112 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

gratitude for the benevolent monarch who made this place 
a ruin — for him. 

To such an abbey, still splendid with tall columns and 

windows of delicate tracery and lofty arches, came this 

company in brakes and waggonettes. They rambled among 

the grass- grown nooks : they stood within the walls of the 

old refectory, and marked the place where the pulpit stood, 

in which the novice read ' The Acts of the Saints ' — the 

only work of fiction allowed to the unhappy monks : they 

laughed and chattered within the chapel, which once echoed 

before break of day with their chanting : they peered into 

the monks' kitchen, and wondered what cuhnary marvels 

were tossed up for the Abbot, and how the monastic soup 

was brewed : they stood beside the old fish-ponds, and 

asked how the carp and perch were dressed so that even 

days of fasting might not altogether lack some carnal joy : 

they walked about the broken cloisters which surround the 

monks' burial-place— their bones lie long forgotten, even the 

bones of the wisest Abbot and the gravest scholar and the 

most beautiful illuminator and the most wonderful writer of 

manuscript, all forgotten and their works destroyed. Their 

laughter echoed about the walls, because, though they said, 

' This is the Eefectory, this the Abbot's room and this the 

kitchen' — their thoughts were not at all among the dead 

monks. Why should they be ? The present belongs to the 

young. Theirs is the sunshine : theirs all the fruits. Dry- 

as-dust and his friends are well stricken in years, poor 

things. They may restore the old abbey, and revive the old 

life — for their own amusement — the young have nothing to 

do with the dead past, save to enjoy whatever heritage it 

has conferred upon them. 

In the very centre of this roofless church, Rosie sat upon 
a fallen stone, Denny beside her. The merriment had gone 
out of her face : she laughed no longer : the tears stood in 
her eyes : while Denny, like a loyal friend, was pleading, 
with all the eloquence at his command, the cause of his 
friend. It was just at the very moment, by a curious coinci- 
dence — only nobody knew it — that Eobbie Lythe was 
putting that question of his concerning Geraldine. 

' It is no use,' said Rosie, ' no use at all trying to shield 
him. He has been carrying on a treacherous game. Every 
other day he has written me a letter — a letter such as one 



THE PICNIC ir3 

has a reason to expect if one is engaged ' She blushed 

a little. ' If you were engaged you would know exactly the 
kind of letter.' 

' I hope I should under such happy circumstances behave, 
in all respects, as an engaged man ought. If I were engaged 
to — to one girl of all the girls in the world, I know that I 
should exhaust the adjectives of the language and 1:11 the 
letters with one verb only — past, present, and future.' 

'And all the time,' Kosie continued, ' he has been actually 
forgetting my very face. The only explanation he has 
ottered is, in fact, an outrage in itself — an insult that I can 
never forgive— it is, that he had really, for the moment, 
forgotten me ! There is an explanation from a man who 
pretends to be in love !' 

' It is awkward, certainly,' said Denny, rubbing his chin. 
' It is extremely awkward. In fact, t never heard of a 
position more awkward.' 

' You can call it awkward if you please — I call it heart- 
less.' 

'It seems heartless. But suppose'— he rubbedhis chin 
harder — ' suppose — you knov7— a possible explanation. Kit 
is a very good actor — isn't he ?' 

' I don't know. Kit may be a buffoon when he permits 
h-imself to lose his self-respect ; but one can hardly call 
him an actor.' 

' Yet he is — Kit is a very fine actor and full of fun. 
Quite full of fun. Capable of any kind of mad waggery— 
which suggests a very simple explanation. He has come 
down, I will suppose, resolved to play a little comedy. The 
first thing he does— the opening scene in the farce, is when 

the lover pretends to forget the girl he is engaged to ' 

' Oh ! You think that, do you ?' 

' I suggest it. The girl, of course, is highly indignant- 
and threatens to break it off. He pretends to be repentant ; 
but still keeps up the pretence of coldness.' 
' Go on, pray.' 

' She gives him two days, in which to recover his old style 
— his tenderness, you know— the longing in his eyes and 
the softening of his voice— two days. He asks for a week. 
She refuses.' 

' This is, indeed, a beautiful comedy.' 
'Isn't it? Quite admirable. She refuses to give him 

8 



114 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

more than two days. On the second day he keeps it up 
still. He pretends love; but when she looks for the old 
manner, it is gone— love is there no longer. Then she 
breaks it off altogether.' 

' Dear me ! What a very funny piece it is ! How ex- 
quisitely ludicrous !' 

* Yes. But wait. That brings you to the end of the 
second act. The third act is a week later — while the girl 
is sitting, bitter against her faithless lover, perhaps 
sad ' 

'Oh I " perhaps sad." This is where the laughter comes 
in, I suppose.' 

' Yes. He comes back, you know, dancing and laughing, 
all the old love returned — the old ardour and the old passion 
— and she forgives and ' 

' No ' — Kosie started to her feet — ' she does not. She will 
never forgive him, — never — never — never ! You call this a 
comedy — you ? I thought better of you. I thought you 
were more human.' 

' I fear,' said Denny, ' that, after all, I have only made 
things worse. My comedy was ill-conceived and impossible. 
I give up the comedy. Let us try something else.' 

' You need try nothing more.' 

' Kit has been very hard at work, thinking hke an owl, 
and as solitary, for three months : he has given up his club 
and all his pleasant vices : he has been industrious for a 
long spell : he has changed his style, confound him : paid 
his debts, and opened a banker's account — he actually has 
money in the bank. Now, if you know Kit — and you do, — 
you must know that after such a spell of work he will very 
soon want a holiday. And so, you see, the new Adam will 
be put off and the old Adam will return.' 

But the girl shook her head sadly. 

' He will come back,' Denny repeated. ' In a week or so 
you will be wondering that you have missed him. He will 
come back, and be as lazy and as helpless as ever, if you 
wish : or he shall be as industrious and as successful as you 
desire.' 

Eosie shook her head. 

' One does not love a man,' she said wisely, ' because he 
is lazy and helpless. Do not think that. At present it 
seems as if he was gone out of my heart altogether, never 



THE PICNIC 



"5 



to come back. But if he were to come, and with the old 
Hght in ' 

She looked up aud stopped short, because it was there — 
the old light that she remembered — a light never to be 
mistaken or forgotten : a light that never means anything 
but love : the light that formerly lit up the spectacled eyes 
of her lazy lover. She dropped her eyes and trembled, 
blushing. 

* You shall see the old light,' he murmured softly. ' Do 
you believe that Kit has really forgotten you ? Do you 
think — oh ! do you think — that anybody could ever forget 
you, Eosie?' 

She got up quickly, with averted face. 

' We will find the others,' she said ; ' I think my affairs 
have been discussed quite enough.' 

She led the way out of the church to the ruins, where one 
or two of the company were exhibiting such rags and shreds 
of arcluBological lore as are always trotted out on such 
occasions : and the rest were listening with the intelligence 
and interest which may be perceived on the faces of the 
ladies at a scientific evening in the theatre of the Eoyal 
Institution, or, indeed, upon any personally conducted tour 
of improvement. 

They spread the tablecloth on the grass of the Monks' 
Eefectory, and sat round, some on rugs and some on fallen 
stones, and some on mounds of turf. Here was a change 
from the droning voice of the sleepy novice. But the walls 
were used to these things : they were scandalized no longer 
by the laughter of girls and the music of their voices. Pre- 
sently, someone — it was the young assistant-master — pro- 
duced a banjo, and began to strike upon that musical 
instrument, aud to sing a song, and everybody laughed. 
Even the teacher in the High School laughed, though the 
thing was so very unworthy of the profession. Youth, you 
see, will feast and laugh and be happy whenever it can : and 
if a row of grinning skulls of the old monks had been strung 
around the walls, with a legend reminding them that to this 
complexion must they come at last, they would have feasted 
and laughed in exactly the same way. 

But Eosie sat quiet beside Sophia Gentry and suffered 
the others to talk and laugh. Afterwards, it was remem- 
bered by those who are prophets after the event — a very 



n6 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

numerous and wide-spread profession — that Denny also had 
intervals of silence, and that he kept glancing furtively at 
Kosie, as if apprehensive or doubtful. Subsequent events 
seemed to explain their conduct. They did not really explain 
anything ; but the after-event prophet thought so, which did 
just as well. 

When the sun was getting low they drove home, for the 
most part in silence. The end of such a day is always 
rather sad. Witness the vans when they come home from 
Epping Forest. The soft influences of nature and the close 
of a festive day incline the heart to melancholy — so that 
many go home in tears. 

Geraldine stood on the terrace to welcome them, when 
they reached home — with her, Eobbie Lythe. Mr. Pinder 
still slept in the smoking-room — and Kit did not show 
up that evening at all — nor do I know what became of 
him. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECOND DAY. 

The morning brought the second day, when the lover was 
to show himself in his ancient manner — to display the 
gallantry and ardour proper to love — or else 

Eosie waited for him in the library. He ought to have 
been there first. 

It is a bad beginning — a most unfortunate omen^when 
a girl is kept waiting. What is to be thought of a lover 
who keeps an appointment a quarter of an hour after the 
time ? Where is eagerness ? Where is ardour ? Where is 
the burning desire to be with the object of his worship ? 
Alas ! where ? 

To few women is it given to understand the eagerness and 
intensity of a man's passion. But any tendency to the other 
extreme every woman is quick to understand. 

Eosie, therefore, waiting for her former lover, was in no 
mood for trifling. 

' So, sir,' she began, when he tardily appeared. 

He did not afc sight of her quicken his step, nor did he run 
to protest penitence. Not at ail. He walked quietly to the 



THE JUDGMENT OF THE SErOND DAY 117 

window where she stood, bearing in his hands a roll of 
manuscript. Because, you see, he proposed, when this 
little interview should be completed, to go on with his work ; 
and he was perfectly calm and collected, and only wished 
that it was over and done with. 

Therefore, though Eosie began with her ' So, sir,' she 
stopped short when she observed the deliberation of his 
step, and understood by the exhibition of the MS. that his 
work was in his mind as well as his love. 

' So, sir,' she repeated, with increased warmth, when he 
stood before her, ' you have kept me waiting a quarter of 
an hour. What have you got to say, now that you are 
here ?' 

' I am anxious to explain ' 

' I want no explanations !' She stamped her foot angrily. 
' I will have none. If that is all you have to say, you had 
better go at once.' 

All she wanted, this poor girl, was to see once more her 
old sweetheart as he had always been, full of love and of 
tenderness, love shining in his eyes, love hanging on his 
lips. And this man could give her nothing but explanations- 

' I am anxious to say, Eosie,' — he still pronounced the 
name with an effort, — ' most anxious to assure you that 
this little misunderstanding of ours can be easily removed 
by a little patience, a little forbearance for three or four 
days only. Let me go away now, and come back to you, 
say, in three or four days.' 

She laughed scornfully. 

* I ask for bread and you give me a stone,' she said. 
' No, sir, I will not wait ! — I will exercise no more 
patience.' 

' Then, all I say is, if you will not accord me that delay 
— is that ' 



' Well ?• 

' All I can say is that ' — pity the sorrows of this poor 
young man, about to pronounce a perjury of the most flagrant 
kind — ' that the fondest affection — the most sincere affec- 
tion, — the — the — tendcrest love ' 

' Oh, good gracious ! Why, you can't even act the part 
the least bit ! Stop this nonsense, sir — I will not be insulted 
by it.' 

' Then what in the name of goodness can I say ?' 



Ii8 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Anything but that. 1 expected as much, however. I 
understood at once — oh ! at once — when I ran in to meet 
you two days ago, that it was all over between us. Why, 
now, turn your eyes upon me, meet my eyes full. Let me 
look — so.' 

He obeyed with evident reluctance, and turned his 
spectacles to meet her eyes. Alas ! these same spectacles, 
now so cold, had been nearly melted in the past by the burn- 
ing ardour of his gaze. And now 

' So,' she repeated, ' nothing more need be said. Your 
eyes are quite enough. To be sure, your voice and your 
manner are also enough. But your eyes have settled it.' 

' I am, I assure you, most uufeignedly sorry. This is a — 
a — a most unfortunate occurrence. If there is anything I 
can do or say ' 

' There is, I assure you, nothing. Well, it is all over. 
You are free, and so am I. The Kit I used to know is dead 
and buried.' 

' No, no ; he is alive !' 

' Dead and buried he is, and forgotten — or nearly. Who 
are you, sir ? How do you come to call yourself Mr. Arthur 
Christopher Cotterel ? You are a stranger to me. Yet it is 
only three or four days that you told me in a letter ' — she 
took it out of her pocket — ' you told me — oh ! how can I 
say the words ! What does it matter what you told me?' 

She tore the letter into fragments and threw them on the 
ground. One of the fragments, however, flew into his face, 
lighting on his mouth. 

It was as if he had been struck by the girl's hand. 

Then she produced a small packet of silver paper, and 
opened it with trembling lingers. 

' He wasn't rich, my old Kit,' she said, her voice trembling, 
and her lips, as well as her fingers. ' He wasn't rich at all, 
and it is but a little bundle of presents that he could make 
me. He used to idle away his time, talking nonsense to me, 
the silly fellow, instead of working for money.' 

She glanced up quickly, but there was not the least re- 
sponse in her lover's eyes. He looked puzzled, and even 
bored. His eyes were stony. 

She brushed away a tear, and hardened her heart. 

' Well, he is gone. Here is a ring he gave me. Of course, 
I took it off the day before yesterday, when I saw from your 



THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECOND DAY 119 

face that it was all over. A pretty little ring, isn't it? I 
wonder if you remember what you said — he said — when you 
— he, I mean, put it on my finger ?' 

' At this moment,' Kit replied, in some confusion, ' the 
words have escaped ' 

'Oh !' She snapped the ring in two — it was but a thin 
little thing — and threw the fragments out of the window. 
' Why ask such a man anything? Here is the brooch. Kit 
said it was his mother's. It isn't pretty ; but I valued it 
because it was his mother's. Take it back. Here is a Tri- 
chinopoly chain. Kit bought it, perhaps you may remember, 
of a sailor at the East India Docks. He gave the man every 
penny he had in the world for it, thinking to please me, and 
had to walk all the way home in the rain : that was the 
kind of thing the old Kit used to do. There are two or 
three other things, with a history belonging to every one ; 
but you have forgotten them all,' she added, still a little 
wistfully. 

' Perhaps not all. ' 

' Tell me one. Tell me what happened when you gave 
me this pencil-case.' She took it out of the parcel and 
looked at it. ' I was so happy that day ; I believed in my 
lover — nothing makes a girl so happy as to believe in her 
lover. Kit, if you will only say now again what you said 
then — in the same voice and with the same light in your 
eyes. No — no — it is useless ! The man is insensible. He 
has neither memory, nor heart, nor any sympathy left. He 
is of marble.' 

' I am not, indeed ; and yet ' 

' Take the things, Mr. Cotterel, and let me go at once. 
The sight of you makes me burn with rage. Let me go 
quickly — never dare to speak to me again.' 

Said Kit — and this was really the most remarkable thing 
he did say during the whole of this unpleasant quarter of an 
hour : 

' I promised I would do the best I could, and a pretty mess 
I have made of it.' 

' Very pretty indeed.' 

They looked at each other in silence for a long space : he 
with an exasperating bewilderment as if he knew not how 
things had come about, or what he ought to do ; she scorn- 
fully. 



I20 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' It is very curious,' she observed coldly, ' how a change 
in one's feelings about a man alters one's opinion of his 
character and his appearance. My eyes are opened. I 
cannot believe now^ that three days ago I actually thought 
Kit Cotterel rather a good-looking man. Oh ! look in that 
glass behind you. Is that a figure of Apollo ?' 

Kit did not turn to survey himself. He only replied 
gravely : 

' I do not want a figure of Apollo. I am quite contented 
to remain as I am.' 

' Oh, but the poet of the club ought to look like a poet. 
And to think that until quite lately I thought him really a 
poet, with his smoking-room rhymes !' 

' The poet of the club ? Yes, I believe I was the poet of 
the club ?' 

' I once invested his habits with romance. It seemed fine 
for him to be too lazy to do any work — genius, I thought, 
has eccentricities. It was a mark of genius that he should 
smoke a pipe all day long with his hands in his pockets. It 
was characteristic of him to take a wife and condemn her to 
continual poverty and makeshift, owing to his laziness.' 

The unhappy Kit opened his lips twice, but said nothing. 
No sound came forth at all. 

' It is as if I have awakened out of a long and bad dream. 
Mr. Cotterel, I thank you from my heart. It is quite cer- 
tain that you never did me a greater kindness — that you 
have never behaved with more unselfish generosity — than at 
this present moment. I wish you better success, sir, with 
your next wooing. But your pipe and your beer will make 
up for the loss of a mistress.' 

Queen Zenobia herself — the stateliest of Queens — could 
not have walked down the room with more dignity, though 
Eosie, poor child, was no more than five foot nothing. 

The rejected lover looked after her with a look of per- 
plexity rather than dismay. When she slammed the door 
— every woman reserves the right of slamming the door in 
moments of indignation — he whistled. Whistling is not 
usually regarded as a sign of grief — we give to sorrow words, 
not whistling. Yet it exactly expressed his mind. What he 
said by means of this sound was, in effect : ' The other fellow 
will have all his work cut out to get that young woman 
back,' 



THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECO^'D DAY i2t 

The door opened, and Denny cautiously put in iiis head 
and looked round the room. 

' I watched her from the porch,' he said, ' I saw her 
running upstairs. Well, old mau, you soon got it over. 
Made it all right at last, I hope ?' 

* I did my best,' said Kit : ' I told you I would.' 

' What did you make up?' Denny asked anxiously. ' We 
must both be in the same tale. What did you tell the dear 
girl? I couldn't see her face. Well, it's all right, isn't it?' 

' On the contrary, it's all wrong.' 

* All wrong ?' 

' Yes. All very wrong indeed. Just as wrong as it 
can be.' 

' I thought you were going to pretend. You told me you 
had made up something.' 

' My dear fellow — so I had. But things didn't go as I 
thought they would. First, you know, I intended to make 
my little speech about pre-occupation and an overwrought 
brain ; and then she would have said something, and then 
I should have said something more, and we should — I 
suppose — have fallen ' — he yawned a little — ' fallen into 
each other's arms, or something equivalent.' 

' Something equivalent,' Denny grunted. 'Go on.' 

' Well, she never gave me a chance — wouldn't hear me. 
She was in a rage royal from the beginning. Now I 
hoped ' 

' Oh ! you hoped — never mind what you hoped. What 
did you say ?' 

' Nothing, I tell you — I said nothing — I told you so 
before. I couldn't get a word in edgeways. She never 
gave me a chance.' 

' What did she say, then ?' 

' She asked me to look at her — that was enough.' 

' I suppose it was. x\nd your eyes had as much expres- 
sion as a boiled oyster.' 

' Your own, my friend. But it was quite enough. I've 
received a most emphatic dismissal, with plain speaking 
about my personal appearance and the habits of my 
life.' 

' Then now you've made the job complete. Emphatic 
dismissal !' 

' Accompanied, I repeat, by contemptuous reference to 



J 22 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

my personal appearance and the habits of my hfe — as she 
knew them. A girl who meant going on again would 
hardly speak contemptuously of her lover's appearance, I 
take it.' 

' What had she got to say about your looks, I should hke 
to know ? They used to be good enough for her.' 

' She seemed inclined to ridicule the figure. Well, for 
my own part, I am perfectly satisfied with the figure. 
Compact, I call it,' he looked complacently at his effigy in 
the glass. ' Compact, healthy, well-nourished, useful, and 
—now that I've taken off some of the fat induced by 
immoderate drinking and laziness — active. No organic 
disease anywhere : no weak points that I have discovered : 
no hereditary tendencies : a frame eminently fitted and 
eminently designed for a life of hard and unremitting 
labour.' 

' So you seem to think.' 

' As for my habits of life — as she understands them, she 
is quite right. I don't call it good form myself, to spend 
the whole of the night and the best part of the day with a 
lot of fellows who do nothing but talk of the grand things 
they are going to do.' 

' If I'd only known what a prig you would become ' 

' Let me go on. She also very rightly insisted on the 
selfishness of marrying a girl when you knew before- 
hand ' 

' I did not know beforehand.' 

' Well, my friend, you have indeed got your work cut out. 
I don't envy you the job ; and if words and looks mean 
anything at all, there is not a man in the whole world whom 
that young lady will not marry rather than you.' 

' I say, what is to be done ? Stop preaching, man, and 
let us consider. Stay, I have it — I have it. Let us change 
back again, at once. Let us lose no time. Good heavens ! 
Every moment that we put off is a moment lost.' 

' There is the promised article not quite finished,' said 
Kit, ' but I won't let that stand in your way. Let us change 
at once, by all means.' 

'Where are the materials, then?' Denny was all im- 
patience. ' Let us get back, and this evening I will astonish 
them by the reappearance of the real Kit — none other 
genuine. Quick, man, quick !' 



THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECOND DAY 123 

' Tlie phial is in my pocket. But first I have got to put 
you under mesmeric infiuence. Sit down. Look at me — 
keep your eyes on mine, and fix your thoughts on me. 
Now — now — now.' 

He waved his hands and concentrated his gaze. Denny 
sat Hke a patient inhahng ether : passive.^yet eager. 
After ten minutes of violent exertion, Kit desisted. 
' It is no use,' he said ; ' something is in the way. What 
are you thinking of now ?' 
' I'm thinking of Eosie.' 
' Pshaw ! Think of me.' 

Again they hegan. After ten minutes more Denny 
jumped out of his chair. 

' This is fooling. Eeraember, it was Denny who mes- 
merised Kit. Let me try.' 

He tried for a quarter of an hour. The result was the 
same. 

' It is no use,' said Kit, ' we must give it up. I suppose 
the reason is that we agreed to remain as we are for three 
months. "We can't change now, until the time's up. Only 
three days more — courage !' 

' Only three days ! Only three thousand centuries ! 
And every moment that poor child growing to hate me 
more and more. Poor girl, what must her sufferings be ! 
My mind is made up !' he cried desperately. ' I shall tell 
her exactly what has happened— that you are not yourself — 
and I — I — am the real Kit !' 

He rushed from the room to carry out his desperate 
resolve. A second time Kit waited till the door was 
slammed, and then whistled softly. After this he sat down 
to his papers and continued his w^ork. 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

' UNDERSTAND ME CLEARLY.' 

Behind the house there lies a wood, a deep thick wood, 
where in summer the boughs spread interlaced overhead so 
that the light is softened, and the sun breaks through in 
shifting gleams and glances like dropping rain. In the 



t24 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

autumu the paths are thick with yellow leaves, and at all 
times are strewn with twigs which crack under the feet as 
one w^alks. Hither came Eosie, the nymph bereaved of her 
lover. She came not to weep, because the time for tears 
was gone : after the first day there was no room for tears : 
she came to think. We always say we come to think when 
we mean that we come to let the mind wander uncontrolled. 
This is the time when a whole army of thoughts, fancies, 
memories, and purposes, seize upon the brain and demand 
space and an interval to occupy it, and do and say and act 
as they please. At such times one must be alone. 

Eosie wandered here alone, such thoughts hurrying, 
driving, rushing in her brain. At times she came to the 
edge of the wood, close to the garden. Then she heard the 
voices of those who played or walked there, and she turned 
back and plunged again into the depths, just exactly as if 
she had been a nymph in Ovid's ' Metamorphoses.' But 
none of Ovid's maids ever received such provocation as this 
damsel. I know not how long she was alone. It may 
have been an hour : it may have been ten minutes : thought 
keeps no count of time. And here Denny presently found 
her. 

' Eosie ' — he spoke in a whisper, though there was nobody 
to hear him — ' I am come to talk with you. Give me five 
minutes only.' 

' If you come as a messenger from Mr. Cotterel ' 

' I do, in a sense — and yet not what you mean.' 

' Well, then, I am not going to listen to you. We agreed 
yesterday, I believe, that my dead-and-gone love affair had 
been discussed enough.' 

' Yes, but what has happened to-day ' 

' It was a natural consequence of what happened before. 
I don't want to hear anything. Denny — Mr. Stirling — you 
have been a very kind friend to me — to all of us — don't 
make me forget all the kindness. Let me go home without 
mixing you up in my little troubles. You would not, I am 
sure, desire to make them worse.' 

' Make them worse ? Good heavens ! I would die 
rather ' 

' Quite enough said. Will you leave me here, or shall I 
leave you ?' 

' One word first — I want to explain.' 



'UNDERSTAND ME CLEARLY.' 125 

' Oiico more, I will uot listen to any explanations.' 

' I must say it — you must hear me. Rosie, you don't 
know — you don't understand. It is dil'licult to explain these 
things. Kit is — I am — that is to say, the real Kit is not the 
present Kit.' 

' No — of that I am perfectly certain.' 

* Of course. He is changed — he agreed to change— now 
you understand what I mean.' 

' My Kit is dead and buried and forgotten. I did not 
need to be told that he is changed.' 

Deuuy made a gesture of despair. 

' I cannot make her understand !' he cried. ' Once more, 
if you were to see and understand quite plainly that he had 
returned— quite himself, and in his right mind — could you 
again ' 

' Never again. Once for all : never again. And now, if 
you talk any more about him, I shall have to leave you and 
go back home. Don't spoil my last days here, Denny,' she 
said, in her soft sweet voice. ' I have been so very, very 
happy here. Kit has done his best to spoil my happiness — 
just at the last — but— but — and if you will only say no 
more about him, I assure you I can forget him ' 

But here she broke down. 

' I will do anything you like,' he replied dismally. ' You 
have only to command me. I will say no more, if you are 
really and truly lost — hopelessly lost — to Kit.' 

' You are indeed a true friend.' The tears rose to her 
eyes, because he looked and spoke in such evident distress. 
' Why, you could not be more in earnest if you were plead- 
ing for yourself instead of your friend. Oh ! if Kit had 
shown only half the feehng that you have displayed— but 
there, if he could have felt it, the occasion would never have 
arisen. Denny, your friend isn't worth it. He doesn't 
suffer : he doesn't"^ give the thing a thought. His heart is of 
stone. Why, I saw all the time he was only thinking what 
he could make up, and longing to get rid of me. I am sure 
that at this moment he is calmly sitting over his manuscript, 
his mind wholly wrapt in his work.' 

' Pleading for myself— I am — for Kit — for myself — in my 
alter ego.' 

' Your alter ego ? That is what one friend calls another. 
Well, I shall hear no more pleading— I must hear you, since 



126 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

you will still be talking about him.' She turned to go back 
to the house, but he looked so miserable that she hesitated. 
' Denny,' she said earnestly, ' you have been so kind to all 
of us — you have made yourself so good a brother to us all — 
and you seem to take this wretched business of mine so 
much to heart, that I will try to make you understand how 
I feel about it.' 

* Tell me what you can — what you please.' 

' You talk like a man, you know. How could we ever go 
on — Kit and I — just as if nothing had happened ? The 
thing is impossible. Between the past and the future there 
lie two days — the day before yesterday, and this morning. 
Can I ever, do you think, forget the moment when Kit, my 
lover — whose last love-letter was in my pocket — refused 
even to recognise me ? Is that possible, do you think ? 
Well, if it were possible — if I could acknowledge that his 
mind was wandering — though one hardly likes lovers whose 
minds go wandering — how could I get over this morning's 
interview ? Love is dead. Kit was quite ready to protest 
all kinds of love — but he is a bad actor : for that matter, no 
actor ever yet put real love into his eyes — his face — his 
voice — his carriage. It can't be done. Now do you under- 
stand ?' 

' This is terrible.' 

' Oh ! he will get over it. And a strange thing has hap- 
pened to me. If I confess it to you, it is because you are 
so much his friend that I want you to understand every- 
thing. It is, that I really feel relieved now that it is all 
over. At first I was very sorry. I cried a good deal, with 
Geraldine, over it, and of course I w^as horribly, frightfully 
insulted. Now I am glad to be free. It isn't only that the 
transformation has brought a new person altogether— a com- 
plete stranger — but I cannot understand how I could ever 
have thought myself in love even with the old Kit.' 

' Oh !' Denny groaned. ' But you were in love with 
him ?' 

' I dare say I thought so. But I seem to have recovered 
my senses and my eyesight. As for finding my senses, I 
see that I am poor, and likely to remain poor unless, which 
isn't likely, I develop some unexpected talent : but if I were 
to marry this man, who would never do a man's share of 
work, I should become ten times as poor, and a hundred 



' UNDERSTA XD ME CLE A RLV 1 27 

times as miserable. I will bear the burdens that are laid 
upon me, but not those which are laid upon him as well. 
And as for recovering my eyesight, I now plainly see that 
the life he used to lead was selfisla and frivolous. IIow does 
it help the household if the husband sits up all night talking 
with his friends ? What honour, even apart from money, 
does a man get who writes little catchy rhymes and sets 
them to little catchy tunes ? That is all that poor Kit ever 
did. He called himself a poet by profession, when he was 
but an amateur rhymer. Now, of course, he is a prig, and 
a complete stranger.' 

' Oh ! But he had higher ambitions.' 

' It is no use to have higher ambitions if you do not exert 
yourself to achieve something of them. He was a beautiful 
dreamer. Oh ! yes. I know that I used to listen to him 
with the greatest pleasure. He quite carried me away out 
of myself with his dreams. I knew all along that they were 
nonsense, but it made me happy to listen to him. And I 
knew all along that he w^ould make my life miserable.' 

' Yet there was nothing he would not have done to make 
you happy.' 

' How can a married woman be happy when there is not 
money enough? He was ready to do everything for me 
except the one thing essential — to work for me.' 

' But he has begun to work.' 

' Very likely. I do not care any longer what he does. He 
has become, you see, commonplace to me. Nothing is left 
of him but his short fat figure and his spectacles and round 
face. He is quite commonplace, a person of ordinary abili- 
ties, who thinks he has genius ; a man, as I now perceive 
plainly, of coarse tastes and low companions. In his new 
shape he is even worse. He used to be cheerful : now he 
laughs no longer. He used to laugh with everybody : now 
he is as solemn as an undertaker. He talks maxims : he 
writes philosophical papers : he is a lesser Oliver Goldsmith 
trying to look like John Stuart Mill.' 

' Oh !' Denny groaned. ' If you only knew ' 

' I am no longer fond of Bohemia. And I never did care 
for prigs.' 

' Eosie — for Heaven's sake — your words tear me to pieces. 
Believe me, I am, myself, the very man !' 

' Are you ?' she laughed, not understanding in the least 



128 THE DOUBTS OF DH'ES 

what he meant. ' Man and wife are no longer twain, but 
one. Yet you and Kit are not man and wife. That you are 
his very good and loyal friend you have proved in a way that 
does you honour. But even David and Jonathan did not 
call themselves each other, did they ? Well, I will say no 
more, because I would no!: give you pain — who have given 
me so much pleasure. You shall not think me ungrateful. 
But you understand — you understand quite clearly, Denny?' 

She looked up with soft pleading eyes, and her voice was 
so tenderly caressing that the young man's knees trembled. 

' There is no room left for any mistake. Plead his cause 
no longer.' 

' You do not understand,' Denny stammered. 

' I don't want to understand. In a day or two I go home 
again. It is not pure, unalloyed happiness that awaits me 
on my return. But I shall be happier than I was, partly 
because I shall have my stay here to look back upon. It 
has been a very sweet and beautiful time,' 

She spoke with an unaccustomed gravity. When she had 
finished she held out her hand. Denny stooped and kissed 
it without reply. Then they turned and parted, Eosie going 
back to the house, and Denny staying in the wood. He, 
like Rosie, wanted to think. His brain was filled with ten 
thousand devils fighting, struggling, and trampling on each 
other. 

' I am a commonplace person,' he murmured. ' My asso- 
ciates and boon companions are a company who drink away 
their brains : we dream of things we shall never accomplish : 
my appearance is ridiculous : my future is certain : failure 
is written on my brow : selfishness is the key-note of my 
character. It is all over then. She could never forget these 
things — never, never ! Not even if I were to write the whole 
of the thoughtful magazines for twelve months on end. 
Never ! And I love her a thousand times as much as ever. 
What to do ? What to say ? Where to turn ?' 

For the first time in the memory of the oldest visitor, 
Denny did not appear at luncheon. His place was empty. 
But Kit was there, calm, philosophic, and not in the least 
disturbed by the events of the morning. He looked round 
the table with a front of brass, and caught the eye of the 
girl who had told him so many home-truths without showing 
the least sign of emotion. His eyes were stony ; there was 



'L^^DERSTA^D ME CLEARLY' 129 

neither love nor memory,, not even connnou interest, in 
tliem. He did not care — he truly did not care that he had 
been dismissed. This knowledge naturally did not decrease 
the girl's bitterness. 

The talk fell upon some topic of the day, one of those sub- 
jects_on which ordinary people converse, with the ideas of 
the day before yesterday's leading article. But Kit — this 
long-hidden Kit — knew. He talked as if he had been on 
the spot and in the thick of things. He talked like one in 
the inner ring, and with such grasp of the subject, and 
a knowledge so real, that Geraldine glowed with pleasure 
only to see how her old friend was at last showing the stuff 
which she always knew was iu him. But Eosie, who had 
no interest in the question, and cared no more about the 
speaker, listened unmoved and without admiration. Besides, 
her thoughts were in the wood, where she left the truest 
and most loyal of friends. What did it mean, this passionate 
pleading for a friend who, she now remembered, had never 
once spoken of him during all the time of her acquaintance 
with him V Why this wonderful fervour of friendship for 
one who certainly had got on very well without him ? Be- 
sides — besides, what meaut that look in the advocate's eyes ? 
Can one plead another's cause so thoroughly as to reproduce 
the unmistakable look of love for vicarious and not for per- 
sonal purposes ? 1 do not say that the girl formulated the 
difficulty m these words, but the difficulty was there. 

' My dear,' whispered Sophia the sympathetic, ' you look 
worried. What is it ?' 

' Not tkat,' she answered, with the precision of a thought- 
reader. 'I am free — and I am glad, not sorry. But, 
Sophia dear, I think that the sooner we are all home 
again and quietly at work, the better it will be for some 
of us.' 

CHAPTER XIV. 

' TELL ME ABOUT YOUKSELVES.' 

Sophia Gentkv sat under a tree iu the churchyard finishing 
a water-colour sketch of the old tower. She was one of 
those who are always at work, even though her work no 
longer sold. This afternoon, she made, herself, a picture 

9 



130 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

far prettier than any she was Hkely to paint. She had 
thrown oif her hat, and sat bareheaded. She might have 
represented the Muse of Painting grown old, her hair white, 
her fair face Uned witli crows-feet. Yet, because she repre- 
sented the Muse and had spent all her life in meditation 
over her Art, she was still beautiful, serene, never weary of 
her work. Some artists manage to look the part so much 
better than they play it. Beside her, on a Hat tombstone, 
sat Geraldine. They were talking, and the elder lady 
prattled on, as painters do at their work ; unconnectedly, 
with pauses of silence, without much thought. They were 
talking about people, which is the favourite and sometimes 
the only subject of conversation with all of us, men or women. 

' And so, my dear,' said Sophia, twisting her head about 
so as to get the full effect of her last touches, ' we had better, 
after all, leave the matter alone.' 

' I shall speak to him — once — about it,' said Geraldine : 
' Surely I know Kit well enough to speak. We ought to 
be quite satisfied that their decision is wise for both of them. 
It would be dreadful if they were making some terrible 
mistake which a word might set right.' 

' I have seen, ever since he came down, that he no longer 
cares about her. My dear, I think that the boy has become 
so earnest in the pursuit of literature that he has no room 
for any other thoughts. I saw the first evening, at dinner, 
that he wasn't thinking about the poor girl at all. He was 
distrait : he looked bored : when I have talked with him I 
have found a constraint. And you ?' 

' No — he is quite changed, that is true ; but I find no 
constraint. He talks to me,— perhaps not so freely; but 
then not so boyishly. As for Eosie, she declares she is 
really glad to be free. I wonder if she deceives herself ?' 

' I believe not. Rosie was at first indignant, and no 
wonder. Now, she is indifferent. ' 

' How can any girl who has once loved Kit ever become 
indifferent to him? But of course I knew him so long ago. 
To me he is always interesting.' 

Sophia stared sharply at her face. No — there was 
nothing behind : the girl's calm face spoke of no earthly 
passion. 

' Is Kit thinking of some other girl?' she asked, still half 
suspicious. 



'TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELVES' 131 

' I believe not. He is thinking of his work.' 
' Work is a tine servant but a bad mistress,' said Sophia, 
shading her eyes to catcli tlie effect. ' Tliero is no touch 
of Venus in such a mistress. My dear — hero he comes. 
He looks serious enough for a converted clown. Only think 
how that solemn phiz used to light up with smiles un- 
numbered ! Oh ! Kit is too much converted. You must 
bring him back half-way at least.' 

Kit lifted the latch of the gate and walked across the 
churchyard to join them. He certainly did exhibit a most 
remarkable solemnity. 

• Tor once,' said Sophia, ' you have torn yourself from 
your work. Take care, my son — life is not all work. There 
should be society in it — and a great variety of other interest- 
ing things.' 

' Yes — very likely. I came to ask a question.' 
' As many as you please, my dear Kit.' 
' The old man Pinder told me yesterday, being a little in 
his cups, a very queer story. It all'ects Denny Stirling — 
though he knows — or knew — nothing about it.' 
' What is the story ?' 

' It is about the boy, Kobbie Lythe. He says that you 
know the story. About his father and about Denny's uncle 
— the man who made all the money.' 

' Oh ! that old story. I thought you must have heard it, 
Kit. You know it, Geraldine?' 

' Oh !' she replied carelessly, ' I have heard there was a 
story —an old quarrel — a great wrong done, I believe ; but 
I have never paid any attention to it.' 

' Yes,' said Sophia, ' there was a story; but it does not 
concern any of us. Robbie's father, you know, went down- 
hill very fast towards the end — poor dear Tom ! You young 
people do not understand that we also have been young. 
The time seems so long ago, yet we have been young, like 
you. When we started on the race there was Sam Stirling, 
Denny's uncle — Tom Lythe, — Harry Pinder — dear me! how 
ambitious and how clever he was in those days — and a great 
many more. And now where are they ? In the race of life, 
my dears, it is a very odd thing to notice how the horses all 
set oft running different ways.' 
' But the story ?' 
' Oh ! the story. Well, what matters the story? Robbie 



132 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

knows nothing about it. Nobody now can tell whether it 
is true or whether it is false.' 

'Pinder says,' Kit persisted, 'that Mr. Stirling stole an 
invention — stole it — and passed it oft' as his own, and so 
made the whole of his great fortune.' 

He spoke with a heat that seemed hardly called for by 
the circumstances. 

' I think he got it, somehow. Whether he stole it or not, 
I cannot say. Perhaps he bought it.' 

' But — to leave this man to get poorer, and to do nothing 
for his son ' 

' My dear Kit, the thing is done, and cannot be undone. 
I don't think, myself, that it is right to buy as cheap as you 
can and to sell as dear, because in such a transaction some- 
body must be robbed : but then I am not in business. At 
all events, it is always being done. Every day a picture is 
bought for a pound or two, and afterwards sold for hundreds. 
We cannot help it,' continued the wise woman, ' if men are 
so foolish as to sell their property for nothing.' 

' Yet, if it were true, halt of the estate, at least, should 
be given to this boy.' 

< jSIay — nay— consider. Poor Tom Lythe, with all his 
cleverness, could never have made a hundred pounds for 
himself. He was born to make fortunes for other 
people ' 

' Yes, I say, the half— at least the half of the estate,' Kit 
insisted with strange pertinacity. 

' Robbie might be made perfectly happy with much less 
than that,' said Geraldine. ' If he could only be taken 
from the City and sent to the South for the winter, he might 
pull through and last many years. It seems a little thing ; 
but it is impossible.' 

'Alas! it is indeed,' said the artist. 'Unless I could 
sell my pictures.' 

' It shall be done, Geraldine.' Kit's face warmed up in 
(juite the old way. It was just so that he spoke when he 
built up in dreams. ' It shall be done for him — I promise 
that it shall be done — a tardy act of partial reparation.' 

'Well, but,' said Sophia, ' there is no necessity for you 
to make reparation. What have you to do with Mr. 
Stirling's injustices?' 

' It shall be done, however.' 



'TELL MF. ABOUT YOURSELVES' I33 

' Oh ! they said the old Kit was quite gone,' said 
Geraldine. ' As if he could quite go ! Sophia dear, he has 
got fifty pounds in the bank, and he is going to give them 
all to Eobbie. I can read his thoughts, you see.' 

Kit smiled, but gravely, and he said no more for the 
moment about Kobbie. " But he sat down between them 
and, very much in the old manner, began to talk. 

' Let us be confidential,' he said. ' When we go back to 
town and to work, how are our prospects ?' 

' Gloomy, my son,' said Sophia. ' They are very gloomy. 
Find me, if you can, some quiet and delightful old alms- 
house : there must be a chapel, of course ; a garden and a 
sundial. I should not in the least mind going into an alms- 
house, provided there were these essentials. I suppose they 
would let me bring my own easy-chair and a few little pretty 
things. I should make myself quite happy, and I should 

have no anxiety. But I confess that the prospect ' A 

look of pain crossed her face. 

' Are things so very bad ?' 

' They could not be worse. Then there is Rosie— poor 
child ! — she has not been making any real way lately. I 
do not know what will become of Rosie. Her heart is not 
in her work. It used to be with you. Kit.' 

' It is no longer with me, I assure you. And you, 
Geraldine ?' 

' Well, Kit, if young people can be admitted to alms- 
houses too, I should like a cottage next to Sophia's. But 
we have had a most dehghtful holiday. Whatever happens 
in the future, we shall remember this time. And it finishes, 
Kit, in the best way possible — with your success.' 

He smiled gravely again and then, after a few moments 
of silence, he rose and walked slowly away. 

' Kit's new dignity as yet sits strangely upon him,' said 
Geraldine. 

' We loved the old Kit, my dear, and we have not yet 
got accustomed to the new. Oh ! I confess that it is better 
that he should wake up and work. It is more dignified. 
And he is very, very clever ; but he is not so picturesque— 
and, oh ! my dear, he is not so affectionate. Denny, who 
is a darling, has all Kit's old affectionate way. Pity he is 
so rich !' 



134 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

CHAPTEE XV. 

THE LAST DAY. 

The last day came : it always comes in the long run — this 
abominable last day — and then we discover, with Augustine, 
how short is that which hath an ending. Even the old, 
old man, the aged, aged Antediluvian, lamented that man 
should be cut off before a paltry thousand years were 
reached. 

The last day of the holidays is, of all the days that come 
and go, the saddest. Going-away day is not nearly so bad : 
it is the last day, when one feels that the merry company 
are going to part immediately ; that this is the last chance 
we shall have to say what we ought to say to each other ; 
that the time can never quite come over again in the same 
way as we have enjoyed it. Other holidays there will be, 
let us hope ; other sweet places — other pleasant companies 
— await us still in the halting-places along the weary Haj, 
the pilgrim's way : but there will be something missing — 
some vanished face— some loss. The play-time is over — 
the holy play-time when we have all been so good, when 
no one has defrauded his neighbour, and there have been 
no hai'd-forced bargains, no fighting over the plunder, no 
robberies— in a word, no business. It is over, and on the 
morrow we must go. Let us wander hand-iu-hand along 
the shore, and watch the rolling of the waves, and the white 
crests of the flying horses in the bay, and the vessels that 
pass to and fro : it is our last chance before we go back to 
the way of war and the windy talk of men. For six weeks 
we have been in this Garden of Eden : let us take one rnoi'e 
walk in it before we go back to the town, and the stones of 
it, and the smoke of it, and the noise of ii:. 

It was a melancholy party that gathered round the 
breakfast-table that morning ; but the saddest and gloomiest 
of all the faces was that of their host, the hitherto cheerful 
Denny. 

' You reserve your best compliment for the last day, 
Denny,' said Rophia. ' You-are cast down on our account, 
because we are sorry that it is over.' 



THE LAST DAY 135 

' No,' he said. ' Am I not cast down on my own ? A 
liovrid depression weighs me down. The most dehghtful 
time I have ever had is over, and it can never come again 
— never-never !' 

' Why should it never — never — never come again ?' she 
echoed, smiUng. ' Why are you so sure that it cannot 
come again ?' 

' That I cannot tell you ; but it is gone, and another time 
as good can never come again.' 

They all sighed with one consent — a deep, harmonious, 
melancholy sigh. 

' We shall have it to remember,' said Sophia, ' in the cold, 
dark days of winter— in the fogs of the London streets we 
shall remember this lovely house, and the sunshine lying on 
the lawns— and the deep woods and the heath— we shall 
remember all.' 

' We shall remember all,' they murmured with tearful 
eyes. 

' And we shall remember— Denny,' said Sophia, laying 
lier hand in his. 

His eyes softened. Manhood forbids the cloud to fall in 
rain save in moments of the deepest emotion. 

' But it is gone,' he said. ' What goes with it besides I 
shall find out to-morrow. Come,'— he looked up and 
laughed, the ghost of a laugh — ' what must be, always is. 
Let us take sweet counsel together. We have a day before 
^is — y^'hat shall we do with it? Let us make it like a 
Foresters' Gala-day at the Crystal Palace— brimful of things 
to do and things to see. Pity we haven't a steam merry- 
go-round ! We wnll make it a memorable day.' 

When the programme was complete, Denny left the girls 
to carry out the preliminary arrangements— stage properties 
are required for the simplest programme — and betook him- 
self, his face lengthening with every step, to the library, 
where, as he expected, he found Kit hard at work, as 
usual. 

' Old man,' he said, laying his hand on his shoulder, 
' hadn't we better audit our accounts, so to speak— learn 
exactly what we have to face to-morrow ?' 

' Yes ; I was going to say much the same thing. We've 
rather avoided the difficulty, haven't we? I am finishing 
off this paper for you. I think you will acknowledge that it 



136 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

is, on the whole, the best thing you have done.' He took 
up a pile of MSS., and fondled the leaves affectionately. ' I 
cannot bear to let it go out of my hands. It is closely- 
reasoned and But you shall see — you shall see. I shall 

send it in for you to-night.' 

' No, my friend,' said Denny ; ' you will keep it and send 
it in under your own name, if it is to go in at all. But we 
will talk of this presently. First, let me render an account 
of my stewardship.' 

' Don't vex me with the details of what you have given 
away. ' 

' A^ery well. But something you must know% otherwise 
you may be embarrassed ; for, of course, you will have 
to drop down easily. Where shall I begin?' He sat down 
on the opposite side of the table and opened a drawei". 
' Here you will find some papers which you had better 
read.' 

' I don't think I shall. In general terms, you have been 
doing as much mischief with the money as you could.' 

' Yes, my ideas of the rich man's responsibilities are not 
yours. I am not a political economist. Man, I find, obeys 
none of your laws. May I expound the views of an ignorant 
person ?' 

' Pray go on.' 

' I look in the glass and I say, " Behold humanity !" I 
find that all I myself ask of life is, to be happy. I have no 
desire to work. I want love, fellowship, play, talk, music, 
wine, sunshine, woods, lawns, and pleasant places. These 
simple things make up life ; but mostly love, fellowship, and 
play — I ask for nothing more. I want, I say, to be happy. 
Build me a system of economics upon that foundation, and 
I will look at it. Eecognise the universal desire. Let work 
be only necessary work, and play the thing to which it leads. 
But you cannot do this : philosophers have never known 
what happiness is. There is not even any verb which ex- 
presses the universal desire ; we have to make a verb. I 
want-to-be-happy ; thou wantest-to-be-happy ; he or she 
wants-to-be-happy; we all want-to-be-happy.' 

' Political economy works for the general, not the in- 
dividual, happiness.' 

' Humanity doesn't care for the general, but for the 
individual. You who are rich may — nay, you must — make 



THE LAST DAY 137 

others happy who are not. If you refuse, my Dives, you 
sliall be deprived of your treasures ; yea, you shall be cast 
into a lake of fire.' 

' Suppose you take all my treasures and spend them in 
making fifty people happy, as you call it^ — that is, in giving 
them things which they have not earned, — ^what then?' 

' Why, then they will have been happy. "What else do 
you want ?' 

'For a little while.' 

' Life itself is but for a little while. To be happy — to 
enjo}^ the things which we cannot earn, even for a day — is 
something in the brief span of life. Make us happy. Dives. 
We die and are forgotten — we and our works : the next 
generation follows with its works. The woild repeats itself. 
Some men work and make money ; some work and do not. 
Outside things change : shirtsleeves put on broadcloth ; 
broadcloth is exchanged again for shirtsleeves. Always 
there is one cry, " Let us be happy — give us love, fellowship, 
and play." Thanks to the chance that came to me, I have 
given play-time to a few.' 

' And now they must go back to work again no better off, 
but only the worse, because more discontented.' 

'When I took over the temporary charge,' said Denny, 
retui-ning to the question of his stewardship, ' you were 
giving nothing at all to anybody.' 

' I was not. I support no cause, no society, no charity. 
Men must learn to combine. By combination everything 
can be effected ; without it, nothing. Mei:i must work out 
their own salvation for themselves. You cannot impose 
advancement ; it must come from below. I strive for 
nothing but what can be applied to the whole community 
at the same time, such as education, and the teaching of 
principles and combination.' 

' There are the papers !' Denny laid them on the table. 
' The sum of it all is, that I have made several people happy. 
They were poor and in misery^ — misery undeserved. They 
are young people as well as old people. Whatever you do 
in tile future, you can never escape from their gratitude. 
Ho! ho !' He put his hands in his pockets, and laughed. 
' Dives, who was going to drive La/arus from his door lest 
he should pick up the crumbs— a thing dead against the 
modern economv, — has gone out and invited Lazarus to 



138 THE DOUBTS OF DH'ES 

step inside : he has placed him in a warm bath, dressed his 
bad places with a little sulphate of zinc or vaseline, clothed 
him in a beautiful white robe, with a crown of roses, and set 
him down to a feast. Wonderful !' 

' Wonderful, indeed ! Yet the laws remain.' 

' And your example — the example of three months — to 
shame all rich men in every country.' 

' I shall go abroad till it is all forgotten. Meantime, 
however, I have not done so very badly for you.' 

' I know what you have done for me. You have pledged 
me to a pile of work which I cannot execute : you have 
converted me into a monster of industry : you have turned 
me into an orator and an advocate of impossible things. 
Very well, I shall just do nothing : I shall sit down. I 
shall just go to the Club as if these things hadn't happened 
— that is what I intend to do. In a week or two the men 
will leave off chaffing.' 

' Nonsense ! You will — you must — carry on the work I 
have started.' 

' Carry on that work ? I ? Go about lecturing and 
preaching? Never.' 

' This paper which I have finished for you ' 

' Keep it for yourself — I shall go back to the rhyming 
and the little journalism ; it is all I am fitted for. You can 
carry on this blessed work of yours under your own name.' 

' That is impossible. My papers are absolutely identified 
with your name. Consider, a splendid beginning like this 
must not be thrown away. The principle ' 

' I don't care twopence for the principle.' 

' Then it is all lost and thrown away — all that I have 
done in the last three months !' 

' What does that matter ? What would it matter if 
everybody's work were lost and thrown away ?' 

' Oh !' cried Kit, fondling his precious manuscript. ' Can 
you not carry on some of the work ? Will you suffer it all 
to be thrown away?' 

' I can't help it. I could no more carry on this work of 
yours than you could write my songs. Be resigned : worse 
things have come out of this confounded exchange than the 
loss of your confounded work.' 

' We ought to have considered at the outset : we ought 
to have laid down rules. However ' — Kit sighed deeply — 



THE LAST DAY 139 

'you are coming back to the old necessities, the old 
stimulus. I return to the load of wealth, and to work 
without a purpose or an aim. How much I envy you !' 

Denny laughed scornfully. 

' You envy me ! If you only knew with what melancholy 
of spirit I return, you would not envy me.' 

' As for me, my friend : in return for my three months of 
work, I can forgive you everything.' 

' And T, for my part, can forgive you even for changing 
my st^de — I have had absolutely no work to do for three 
months. To think of it ! In fact, I shall always be think- 
ing of it. You've been fagging and trudging and whipping- 
up people to make them think as you want them to think : 
I've been sitting in my easy-chair, just making them do 
what I want them to do : I lift my little finger, and lo ! 
this House of Holiday for these poor girls !' 

' I fear I have not, perhaps, been so considerate as I 
should have been,' said Kit, softened. ' I ought to have 
known how lazy you were. But, indeed, the chance of 
work so filled me with a kind of rage that I have not been 
able to stop, and I quite forgot you, your style, your i-epu- 
tation, and everything.' 

' And I too,' said Denny, ' have been to blame, perhaps. 
But remember, I, who never had a sixpence to spare, found 
myself the master of millions. I ought to have considered 
your opinions more. Forgive me.' 

They shook hands over their reconciliation. 

'And w^hen you ai^e back again,' said Denny, 'will you 
really do nothing with your money for anybody?' 

' I adhere to my principles. But,' he added, with a little 
confusion, ' I find that there must be exceptions made, 
when one gets to know people — when one learns certain 
stories — in short — there is that boy, Robbie Lythe.' 

' You have heard the story about him ? I hoped that you 
would not hear it. Perhaps it isn't true.' 

' True or not, the boy shall be cared for. Send for him — 
promise for him whatever you please.' 

' Yet, consider, the example of his sufferings would be so 
useful a lesson to all his friends.' 

' Then there is Sophia Gentry : you shall do what you 
will for her. Do not suffer her to have any fear for the 
future.' 



I40 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Yet, consider — the poverty of this poor lady can but 
teach other ladies to be less incompetent.' 

' As for that other business,' said Kit penitently, ' I am 
afraid I have botched that for you ; but, indeed, I could not 
help it.' 

' No ; that is botched indeed.' There was no necessity 
to name the business. ' Man ! I don't care twopence for 
the other difficulties— I can get over them in a month. 
But this is different. What is to be done with this? I see 
no way out of it ; I shall never get over it, I fear. Kit 
Cotterel is packed off — bundled out — cleared out like a sack 
of rubbish. She despises him : she hates him. I shouldn't 
mind her hatred, because hatred might always turn again 
to love ; but she despises him. Love can never survive 
contempt. I am done for — done for.' 

' Well ' — Kit showed httle sympathy with this aspect of 
the case — 'suppose you have lost her : after all, there are 
other girls.' 

' None that I want.' 

' Why, man, look round you. Have you no eyes?' 

' Except for Eosie, none.' 

' There is one girl in this house as far above Eosie 
Eomaine as ' 

' Who can be above her ?' 

' You have known her all your life — you played with 
her : why, you used to tell her all your ambitions and your 
plans.' 

' You mean Geraldine ?' 

' Of course I mean Geraldine. You have had this beau- 
tiful, this sympathetic, this divine girl beside you all these 
years, and you actually have not fallen in love with her !' 

' Fall in love with Geraldine ?' Denny laughed pleasantly. 
' That is quite as impossible as to win iDack the other. We 
have always been friends too close for love. I used to tell 
her everything, as you say — my little ambitions, in the days 
when I still had ambitions. Poor, dear Geraldine ! I fear 
I have been a sad disappointment to her. She would persist 
in expecting great things of me. But, in love with Geraldine? 
That would be impossible.' 

' Can there be such a man ?' Kit asked of the heavens and 
the wide, wide world — -gazing around him. 

' Besides, there was Eosie— little Eosie — the plague and 



THE LAST E]'ENING Mr 

torment of my life : we quarrelled every other day, and 
made it up again with kisses. Poor, dear Eosie— and now 
I have made her heart bleed. Poor child ! What can I 
say ? what cau I say ?' 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE LAST EVENING. 

It seemed understood as the day went on that everybody 
was also to have a few minutes' private talk with Denny. 
He held a kind of reception in the library, one following the 
other at intervals. Some came to thank him for private 
and separate kindnesses — how else could so many new 
frocks have come into existence ? Some came to thank him 
for the lovely time they had had. Some came to say that 
they were going back to hard and ill-paid drudgery with new 
courage and hope. Some spoke with tears. Not one but 
spoke out of a full heart. 

Among them came Mr. Pinder. It was half-an-hour or 
BO before luncheon time, a period of the day when this good 
man was always most depressed. His latest drink — unless, 
as sometimes happened, he had taken a glass of beer in the 
morning — dated ten or eleven hours back, and he was there- 
fore at dead low tide. 

' I am better for my stay,' he said, though in the whole 
course of a long life he had never been anything but perfectly 
well and strong. ' But the Theatre calls loudly for me to 
return. There are new pieces coming out everywhere. I 
must get back to work.' 

'Well, work seems to agree with you.' 

'It is not work,' said the critic, 'that hurts a man, it is 
not getting enough work. When one is seventy, the younger 
men cut in and take the best part of the work. It is the 
universal law. The world belongs to the young — and to 
the old man who has not been able to save, there is an evil 
that the physicians cannot cure.' He glanced at a cheque- 
book lying on the table. Perhaps, he thought, it had already 
been used for some of those women, who would wheedle this 
poor young man out of his last farthing. ' Cannot cure,' he 
repeated in hollow tones. 



142 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

Denny laughed. 

' I think I know one remedy,' he said. ' An alleviation, 
at least. Come, old chap, how much will you borrow? 
How much shall I lend ?' 

The Fme Art critic hesitated. With such a chance one 
should not be too modest. Yet he hesitated. Then he 
blushed rosy-red— see how young doth Art still keep her 
followers !— and boldly plunged. 

' I would borrow,' he said, ' no more than my needs 
demand, no more than I can repay. A man may borrow 
without loss of self-respect.' Perhaps he meant that the 
loss of the self-respect came in with the repayment. ' Lend 
me, my friend, — lend me— thirty pounds.' 

When he left the room with that cheque in his pocket, 
his conscience smote him because he hadn't made it fifty. 

Then came Kobbie Lythe. As yet he had not heard what 
was to happen to him, and he was plunged in melancholy 
at the prospect before him. 

'Understand clearly, Kobbie boy' — for he stood in a 
dream, not able to realize what was given to him — ' you 
shall never go back to the City. You are free — you have 
no work to do. In the winter you shall go to Egypt, or the 
Eiviera, or Algiers : in the summer you shall write verses 
and live among your friends. You are to have an income 
of whatever will be found sufficient for everything.' 

' I cannot understand. You do not mean it !' 

' Go, Robbie. Tell Geraldine, and ask her to interpret 
and tell you what it means. Go — you are a free man.' 

Then Geraldine herself came. 

' Oh !' she said, ' what is this that you have done for 
Eobbie ? Is it all true — quite true ? Denny, you have 
saved his life ! Oh ! and I thought you so cold, because you 
must have known that he would die if he went back to his 
work, and yet you offered to do nothing. Yet why should 
you? Bobbie is nothing to you. To Kit and to me he has 
been a great deal always. We love him. But he has been 
nothing to you, which makes your kindness the more won- 
derful.' 

' That is settled then, and we need no more thanks ; and 
perhaps the boy will grow stronger in time. Geraldine, 
is it really, do you think, all over between Kit and Rosie ?' 



THE LAST El'KNING 743 

' I fear so. He is quite cold about it. And she is quite 
determined.' 

' Do you think that time ' 

' No. 1 am sure that time will never help. It is a 
rupture complete. She has quite given him up, and that 
without an apparent struggle. She does not seem even to 
suffer an>- pain. It is as if Kit, who is so much changed, is 
no longer the man she loved.' 

Denny made no reply. 

In the afternoon a little drawing-room comedy, written 
by Denny, was performed by the author and by Kosie. It 
came off' with great applause — never had Eosie played any 
part better. Then dinner, which followed the comedy, was 
animated and even gay. After dinner they had a little 
music and singing. 

\Yhen that began. Kit, who could never now be made to 
play or sing— he, who formerly had been always singing, 
stepped out of the room into the garden. Here he found 
Geraldine alone. Perhaps he knew that she was there. 

' I was thinking,' she said, ' things turn out so strangely. 
We come here expecting nothing but a few weeks' holiday, 
and the whole current of our lives is changed. We leave 
you in London, and you are suddenly transformed. We 
hud here another copy of your old self, as bright and clever 
— and sometimes as careless and frivolous. We come with 
heavy hearts, thinking that nothing could save poor Robbie, 
and, behold ! his life is at least prolonged, and he will have 
no more anxiety. When we came, you were in love and 
Rosie was happy. Now ' 

' Now, Rosie is no longer in love and I am happy. Never 
mind about Rosie or the past. Let us talk — of ourselves — 
Geraldine.' 

There was a change in his voice which ought to have given 
her warning. But she was one of those girls who do not 
easily notice such warnings. 

' In the old times I used to walk and talk with you and 
tell you my httle thoughts.' 

' They were great thoughts. Kit.' 

'And then I began to make songs — those fatal songs ! — 
and the ambitions disappeared, and you have been ashamed 
of me ever since.' 

' Disappointed — not ashamed. Kit.' 



144 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' The old times. It is pleasant to tbiuk aud talk of them, 
is it not ? before Rosie— before anything else came between 
us. She is gone now, and I am free. Geraldine, we are 
free.' 

Just then the touch of a manly hand fell upon the piano 
in the drawing-room, and Denny's voice was heard carolling 
a song — one of Kit's old songs : 

' She is not a country damsel, but a sweet 

Aud a dainty maid of lordly London town : 
She cannot call the cows, and her feet 

Seldom stray on breezy moor or lofty down : 
She never carried milk pails on her head, 

And she cannot churn the butter or the cheese : 
She never tossed the hay or made the bread, 

And I know she'd be afraid to drive the geese.' 

' Listen !' said Geraldine. ' If it were not for the voice, 
which is not yours, one might say that here was Kit himself 
enjoying the thing that he once seemed most to love — the 
applause of those who heard him sing. Why, the song is 
yours ! You wrote it two or three years ago and showed it 
to me. I thought at the time that to go on writing such 
easy trifles in rhyme was quite unworthy of your powers, 
and my heart sank, I remember, because you were so proud 
of the lines. But I was afraid to say what I thought. And 
you were already twenty-five.' 

' And now I am twenty-seven. Time to change, was it 
not ?' 

The singer went on with his foolish ditty, rolling it out as 
if he loved the rhyme, and the music and his own voice, aud 
as if everybody else must love them all, too : 

' Upon the sunny side of Regent Street, 

Where the lovely things in stately shops arc shown, 
There I linger when my purpose is to meet 

This shepherdess of lordly London town. 
And her cheek is just as rosy, and her eyes 

Are just as bright as any maid cau show ; 
And sure no country miss in such a guise, 

And apparelled with such dainty art, could go." 

' Oh, Kit ! And all the time you were building a temple 
of air and light, just as when you began. But your temple 
was becoming, alas ! more and more like a public-house, and 



THE LAST E]'E\ING 145 

your muse more and more like a bai'inaid. Oli, Kit ! and 
we who loved you and hoped so much of you !' 

Tlion the singer's voice rose again, and he sang the third 
verse : 

' She's as wise and she's as witty as she's good : 

She is sunny as the sunshine, and as free : 
She will lose her heart some day — as she should — 

But I'm sure I hope she won't, except to me. 
For her sweet sake I love both square and street ; 

Yea, every street of lordly London town : 
And her first and Christian name is Marguerite, 

And her surname will — perhaps — be — soon — my own.' 

' "When I read those lines to you, Geraldine,' said Kit, 
with softened voice — yet she suspected nothing — ' was it in 
the Square garden ?' 

' Yes ; and in May, when the Ulacs filled the air and the 
laburnum was in blossom.' 

'And — and- — was I mad? was I dreaming? Did no 
thought cross your mind, Geraldine — playmate and friend — 
that the words might have a — a — meaning — a deeper mean- 
ing between you and me, I mean ?' 

' No — Kit — why ? They were a song written by you — 
only a song. Besides ' 

' Sometimes men get mad and do mad things. Sometimes 
they pass over the flowers lying at their feet and go to pick 
flowers not half so sweet in other fields. Sometimes ' 

' Kit, I don't know you to-night. What are you saying ?' 

' It is because I don't know myself. Geraldine, it is be- 
cause I am free.' 

' Free ?' 

'I am free — and I have awakened at last.' He caught 
both her hands and held them tightly. ' Oh ! I have been 
blind — blind ! Geraldine, it is you I love — you — you !' 

' Kit, let me go. Oh ! Kit, you must not.' 

' I must — I will ! Forgive me for the wasted years. They 
shall be wasted no longer. You shall guide me and inspire 
me, my dear.' 

She resisted no longer while he held her in his arms and 
kissed her. 

He forgot everything : the explanations that would have 
to be made — the approaching return to his own personality 
— the risks and the difficulties — he was quite carried away. 

10 



146 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' Oh ! Kit,' tlie girl murmured. ' Are you sure — are you 
really sure — that Eosie no longer. ... Oh ! what will she 
say ? And on the very day after !' 

' It shows the sincerity of the separation : it shows the 
reality of my love. Dear, let us not think of Eosie. Let us 
talk of the future. Let us talk of love.' 

' My dear,' said the happy lover half-an-hour afterwards. 
' There will be a great deal to tell you in a day or two. 
Perhaps you will be surprised — even distressed at first.' 

' No,' she said, ' you cannot distress me, Kit.' 

' It is about Denny Stirling and myself. You have noticed 
a certain resemblance. Do you like him ?' 

' I like him for his generosity. He is certainly a most 
generous man. But he wants earnestness.' 

' If he were to become suddenly earnest, could you — do 
you think a girl might love him ?' 

' Perhaps. I do not care to ask. As for me — why, what 
a question !' 

' "What if he were to become earnest ?' Kit persisted. 

' Kit, can't you understand that some things are impos- 
sible under any circumstances ?' 

' But you knew me when I was in the same idle vein.' 

' Yes, and I knew you before. I knew of what great 
things you are capable, Kit.' 

The lover suddenly let her hand, which he had been hold- 
ing, fall, and walked away. 

The girl sat waiting for him, wondering what was in his 
mind. Presently he came back. 

' Geraldine,' he said, his voice constrained, ' Geraldine — 
whatever happens — we have had this evening. . . . Oh ! my 
dear — my dear.' 

' This,' said Denny, panting, ' is the most delightful waltz 
I have ever had.' 

His partner sighed. 

' And now there will be no more dances,' she said. 

' Why no more dances ?' 

' Because there never are any. Who is to give a dance 
among us? Why, we all live in cheap lodgings. You can't 
dance in cheap lodgings. Shall we have one more turn ?' 

Geraldine was playing, and over the piano Kit leaned, 
watching her with yearning eyes. 



THE [.AST El'ENING 147 

' There ' -lis llu' music stopped -' that waltz is another 
tiling of the past.' 

' Shall you remember it ?' Denny whispered. 

' I shall remember the whole of this day.' 

' Let us go outside. It is cool. We may pursue our 
studies in Natural History. Perhaps we shall find that 
glowworm.' 

Eosie hesitated — with the usual consequences. 

' Tell me once more,' said Denny, ' would it be quite impos- 
sible^even if Kit came back — his once self — his former self ?' 

' It is very good of you to persist in favour of your friend; 
but I have already told you a dozen times — it is quite im- 
possible.' 

' Not if he came dancing and laughing — with the old light 
in his eyes?' 

' Oh ! if you still persist ' 

She turned as if she was going back to the house. 

' No — no ! Oh ! you don't understand. Eosie, I have 
never, never ceased for a single moment to love you.' 

' You?' 

' You are horribly mistaken. It is not Kit who has 
ceased to love you.' 

' No — he is changed. I believe he is changed into you. 
I don't understand what you are talking about.' 

' He is — he is changed. It is I who love you now. 
Rosie, best and sweetest of girls, it is I who love you always 
— always.' 

He folded her in his arms just as Kit had been wont to 
do, and kissed her just in Kit's old form — with the same 
ardour and the same impetuosity. 

' Oh !' she murmured, ' what does it mean ? Denny, how 
can you love me, when you know that I am only just 
released from Kit ?' 

' I am none other than Kit.' 

' How can you say such things ? You are Denny. ' 

He held her in his arms. 

' How shall I make her understand ?' he said. ' There 
will be a time for explanation next week — many weeks after 
next week — only believe that I love you, Eosie, better than 
you were ever loved before.' 

' But oh !' she said, ' you are so rich and I am so poor — 
and they will say ' 



148 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' What do I care what they say? Besides, I am not so 
rich. Oh ! I will explain it all soon. My dear, can you 
love me ?' 

She made no reply. But she left her hand in his, and 
one needs no other answer. 

' But tell me,' she said again, ' why you keep on saying 
that you are the same as Kit ? You are not — you are not ! 
I could not love you if I had not forgotten Kit. You are 
Denny — you are tall and handsome. How could I think I 
loved that poor Kit ? And oh ! how can you love me when 
you know that once I thought I loved that other man ? I 
wonder you do not despise me.' 

' Eosie !' he groaned, ' your words pierce my heart. How 
can I explain ? What shall I say ? What have I done ? 
What will become of us?' 

At two o'clock in the morning there were left in the 
drawing-room only the two young men. They glared guiltily 
at each other. 

' I am afraid,' said Kit, with manifest unwillingness, 
' that there is more trouble before us.' 

' What's that ?' 

' Why — oh ! no doubt a few words of explanation will 
make all clear. As soon as we are again exchanged we can 
have a little interview — both together — with — with the 
young lady.' 

' What the Devil have you done now ?' cried Denny. 

' I admire Geraldine above any other woman that I have 
ever seen. I admired her from the first moment that I saw 
her. She is the only woman with whom I could pass my life.' 

' Well ?' 

' Well, I have told her so — and she thinks it is Kit him- 
self — and she has accepted me. I ought to be the happiest 
of mortals, but I am not, because to-morrow I shall be 
Denny Stirling, and I have gathered that she is prejudiced 
against you — or him — or me. Says that Denny reminds her 
of Kit at his worst.' 

' Geraldine has accepted me ?' 

' No — me. But she will want this little explanation.' 

Denny smote his brow with an interjection not found in 
the grammar or taught in the schools or permitted in the 
play-ground, and rushed from the room. 



TAKE YOUR FREEDOM 149 

CHAPTER THE LAST. 

TAKE YOUR FREEDOM. 

Early in the morning, before the maids were about, Denny 
came downstairs, dressed, and sallied forth into the garden. 
His face was pale, and despair sat upon his brow. Dark 
rings were round his eyes. He stood upon the terrace, 
looking about him. Then he tossed his arms as one who 
is in great trouble of mind. William, the under-gardener, 
who was mowing the lawn, thought his master must really 
be having 'em again ; otherwise why should he look so 
queer, and throw about his arms ? 

There was, however, one more person up and out. This 
was none other than Kit. He had been out half an hour or 
more already. Presently, seeing Denny, he came forth, 
shamefaced. 

' You here?' Denny cried. 

' Yes, I am here. I was restless ; I got up early,' said 
Kit gloomily. ' I have not slept a single wink the whole 
night for thinking.' 

' Nor have I. What shall we do ?' 

' Let us consider the situation from the outside,' said 
Denny, endeavouring after impartiality. ' Let us put it 
before ourselves plainly and without the least reserve.' 

' Well then, let us try.' 

' Last night, when you told me about Geraldine and your- 
self I ran away, because I was afraid^yes, I was actually 
afraid to tell you what had happened to me only an hour 
or two before. It complicates the situation horribly.' 

' Not fresh troubles ?' 

' Yes, fresh troubles. I was resolved, I told you, to 
explain everything to Rosie. I tried to make her under- 
stand, but I couldn't. And last night, driven to despair, I 
tried again. I told her that I had never ceased to love her. 
I told her, as plainly as I could speak, that I was, in fact, 
the real Kit, who had never changed in mind ; and when I 
thought she was on the straight track for understanding, 
I — I — in fact — I kissed her, and then I found that she 
hadn't understood anything at all. And now she believes 
that she is engaged to Denny Stirling.' 



150 'THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

'Understand me,' said Kit firmly, 'no power on earth 
shall make me marry Eosie.' 

' And understand me. Not for worlds would I marry 
Geraldine.' 

' I do not intend to let you.' 

There was silence. The men were resolute. 

' Well, what is to be done ?' asked Denny. ' It won't 
help us to quarrel. What can be done ?' 

' I don't know. At least, the only thing •' He looked 

wistfully at his friend, and paused. 

' Let us once more try to face the situation. Geraldine 
will never listen to Denny Stirling. Eosie will never listen 
to Kit.' 

' That is the plain truth. You couldn't put the case 
more plainly.' 

' As for the work you have done in my name, I shall not 
carry it on. I shall let it drop. This is a short and easy 
way out of the difficulty. Better than long-winded explana- 
tions.' 

' That won't help us with the girls.' 

' No, it won't. And now there is no time for anything 
to be done. It is the most horrible difficulty. Suppose we 
go on as we are for another three months.' 

' What is the good of that ? Geraldine will become more 
attached to me, and Eosie to you. An extension of time 
will only make things worse. As for changing at all,' said 
Kit, ' I don't want to change. I am quite comfortable as 
I am. I shall be extremely sorry to give you up. I feel as 
if I could stay here altogether. The mansion, so to speak, 
is comfortable and sound. The necessity of daily work is 
a most delightful stimulus, and I really associate this frame 
— this lodging — not you at all — with the success which has 
attended my three months of work.' 

' Well ?' 

' I have won for you an excellent character,' said Kit 
severely. ' As for your new style, I should like you to com- 
pare your former style, slipshod and ungrammatical, with 
your later, clean and correct. ' 

Denny grunted. 

' We must change back,' Kit repeated, with a look of 
inquiry. ' That is inevitable, of course. I suppose that we 
must change back again.' 



TAKE YUUR FREEDOM 151 

' It will be horrid,' said Denny. ' 1 believe you've set 
everybody's back up with your priggish airs.' 

' If you come to that,' returned the other, ' I suppose you 
thiuk it will be a pleasant thing for me to find myself trans- 
formed into a he Lady Bountiful.' 

' Ah !' said Denny humbly, ' there I feel as if I hadn't 
done enough. I ought to have made a nmch better use of 
the opportunity. Perhaps I have partly failed to rise to the 
situation. Yet I think I have done nearly all that could 
be expected of a man who has always regarded a bank-note 
with awe, and a hundred pounds, all in a lump, as like 
unto an inaccessible peak. You will forgive me for not 
making a better use of my time ?' 

' We won't re-open that question,' said Kit. ' Look here, 
all the rest could be got over ; but this business of the girls 
can't.' 

' No, it can't. 1 see no way out of it — none at all, except 
more explanations, a blazing row, and perhaps the influence 
of time.' 

' Time will do no good in this case. Geraldine, poor 
girl' — his voice broke — •' she thinks that Kit is changed for 
good. When she sees him fall back into the old courses, it 
will break her heart.' 

' But you must tell her.' 

'You have tried telling Kosie, and she didn't understand. 
Do you believe that anybody will understand? It is an 
old story — an " Arabian Night" story: the Jinn and King 
Solomon exchange bodies — King Kobert is turned out of 
his body by the angel — everybody knows the story by 
heart ; but nobody will believe it in these days. We may 
go on explaining till we are black in the face ! Geraldine 
will only go on beheving that Kit has gone back to his 
frivolous and idle courses because he was tired of being 
serious and industrious.' 

' And Eosie will go on believing that Denny, to whom 
she was engaged, has treated her with the same icy cold- 
ness as she experienced from Kit. Good heavens ! A second 
time ! It is enough to kill her.' 

' Then, again, what is to be done ?' 

There was silence. 

' My friend,' said Kit, after a pause, I have been think- 
ing this matter over all night.' 



152 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' So have I.' 

' Aud I have found a way out of it — the only way. I 
trust to your calm, cold reason, although it certainly entails 
upon you a great sacritice, to adopt my way.' 

' Any way — any way — never mind the sacrifice, if it will 
only make Eosie happy.' 

' There is this way left. To remain exactly as we are.' 

'What!' 

' We must not change at all. That is the only way. We 
must remain as we are. We must somehow make it im- 
possible that there should be any change.' 

' Oh ! that is impossible.' 

' On the contrary, quite possible.' 

' What ! Am I to rob you of your fortune ?' 

' The fortune has never brought me any happiness. Take 
it — take the paltry money and welcome to it.' 

' He calls a fortune of three millions " the paltry money !" 
No, my friend ; I can do much for you, but this I cannot 
do.' 

' You must.' 

' I will not.' 

' You shall. Consider, there is Geraldinc. She will cer- 
tainly — most certainly break her heart if you do not con- 
sent. And there is Eosie— to be treated a second time to 
neglect and coldness. Oh ! it would be the most cruel, the 
most outrageous thing. And it will certainly happen, be- 
cause I really will not undertake again to look the lover. I 
have tried once and I have failed. I could not try again. 
As for your misery and mine, I do not speak, we need not 
consider them.' This is always a safe and conventional 
thing to say — a thing that the pit quite understands, though 
dismal looks proclaim that the speaker is considering his 
own misery very much indeed. ' The exchange, I say, is so 
vastly to my advantage that I hardly dare to propose it. 
My fortune in exchange for my work ! It is giving an 
oyster-shell for the mines of Potosi.' 

' Absurd ! There are three millions of money — three 
great massive millions !' 

' What is money compared with the great cause which I 
have begun to preach ?' 

' Well, and how is one to give up one's own self — one's 
memories ?' 



TAKE YOUR FRF. ROOM 15:; 

' You won't. After a bit you will clean forget your old 
self. Don't let that trouble you. And think of Kosie. She 
likes wealth : she will delight in soft and luxurious ease and 
idleness.' 

' She would.' 

' And with her always at your side,' the tempter con- 
tinued, ' think of the beautiful verses you would write with 
no pressure from without — no trouble about making money. 
I believe there is an opening just now for a society poet. 
The post is vacant, step into it.' 

' If I consented, it would be under conditions. You would 
have to take two-thirds of the money.' 

' Not a sixpence — not a penny. It is against my 
principles. There should be no rich men at all. When 
the present race of rich men dies out there shall be no more. 
Besides, I must have the stimulus of necessity : without 
necessity there can be no good work. No conditions.' 

' Then flatly, I cannot.' 

Upon this Kit, with a silver tongue and the pertinacity of 
a mosquito, began all over again to argue it out. 

Once more Denny refused except upon conditions. 

Again Kit began. This time he drew so moving a picture 
of what he intended to do — what he could not choose but 
do : how his eyes, ice-cold and strange, would once more 
greet the lover-like eyes of the unfortunate girl, mocked and 
insulted a second time : how her reason would totter and 
give way, how she would linger bereft of reason till death 
released her — and all — everything — all this misery because 
her lover refused to accept a fortune. 

' Well,' said Denny at length, moved to submission by 
this terrible prospect, ' I agree.' 

Once more they shook hands. 

' And now,' said Kit, ' I suppose nothing is to be done.' 

' Nothing — except, perhaps, to avoid the mesmeric sleep 
and to break this phial.' 

He drew the box from his pocket and dropped the bottle 
on the stones of the terrace. Denny felt a curious faintness 
and dizziness ; in a few moments he saw nothing. Then 
he recovered, and saw his friend Kit looking about him as if 
asking if anything had happened. 

' Denny, my friend,' he said, ' why are you up so early? 
It is only half-past seven. Has anything happened ?' 



154 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

' I seem to have been restless. And you ?' 

' General nervousness. Too much work, perhaps. Let 
us take a sharp walk before breakfast.' 

' What a pretty box !' said Denny, picking up a carved 
sandal- wood box. ' And who has been breaking bottles on 
the terrace ?' 

'It's very odd,' Kit replied. 'I must be nervous. A 
kind of a sort of — a — a — half-idea or imperfect recollection 
crossed my mind just as you spoke, as if I knew the mean- 
ing of that box. Never mind the thing ! It belongs, I 
suppose, to one of the girls. How sweet and fresh is the 
morning-air ! Denny, I wish you could sympathize a little 
with my work and my principles ! I should like to convert 
you above all things. A rich man among us is impossible. 
Once converted, you would hand over all your money to the 
State.' 

' Thank you. Kit. No ! I shall keep my money, and 
use it for the individuals — myself and Eosie tirst. I should 
like to use a great deal of it for Eosie. She shall go dressed 
in silk attire-^in silk attire,' he repeated, singing the 
words. 

' You are pretty changed, old man.' 

' If you come to that, so are you.' 

' It was time for me to work, wasn't it ?' 

' The old careless Kit was perhaps the more interesting. 
As for me, love has done it ; that, and an improved view of 
responsibilities, which I owe to you, Kit, before your new 
departure. ' 

' The new departure ! Well, I have Geraldine for my 
companion and for solace. A woman may not lead or 
guide, but she may accompany and she may console. To 
think that I should have been blind for all these years ! I 
shall get married as soon as I can. As for the club and 
the fellows there, I have already dropped them. Poor old 
Finder is really too much for anybody. Did he impetrate a 
loan ?' 

' He did !' 

They turned up at breakfast, fresh, smiling, and happy. 
And, though all the rest were saddened by the approaching 
break-up, these two young men preserved a cheerfulness 
that, vmder the circumstances, was curious. But it was 
felt to be a compliment to the two girls. 



TAKE YOUR FKI-F.nO.\r 155 

As a general rule, things spoken Beriously, earnestly, or, 

we say, from the heart, ought not to be spoken at break- 
fast, or at lunch, or even at dinner, because of the dreadful 
flatness which falls upon the rest of the day. The evening 
is the time for emotions. On this occasion, however, an 
hour or so before the train which should take them away, it 
was permitted to Denny to speak, after breakfast, a few 
words of meaning. 

' My dear friends,' he said, looking around him, ' since 
yesterday morning, when we were all so dismal, a most 
curious thing has happened : I don't quite know what, but 
I feel an immense relief. It seemed to me, then— I don't 
know why — as if everything was all over, and nothing worth 
having could ever happen again. Now, I understand that 
we are only beginning, and I've got to tell you something 
that will please you, I hope. Sophia is going to stay here 
as chatelaine, and this house will be kept open all the year 
round. Let us fill it with people who have been pining for 
Bunshine and a holiday, and a little rest and happiness. 
After breakfast, Sophia is going to unpack her things. 
Eobbie, my boy, you had better stay here, too, until the 
cold weather begins.' 

They all pressed round him saying kind things. But the 
tears rose to the eyes of some. 

' You have done for me what you little expected,' Denny 
went on. ' Let me confess. Before you came, I was grow- 
ing morose— the burden of great riches proved greater than 
I could bear. I had no duties and no responsibilities. 
You have made me understand that such a man as myself 
can have no use at all in the world but to make some few 
happier. I must not waste the money, but I may use it to 
make some few happier. We will leave Kit, with his new 
philosophy, to look after the common weal. I shall content 
myself with individuals. He may work for humanity — I will 
work for humans. He may contend that no one ought to be 
rich. Very good — I shall not argue with him. I am rich. 
I accept the situation — and without quarrelling with the 
social arrangements which made that possible. But we 
cannot be rich all to ourselves. That is the great discovery 
of the last three mouths — since you good people came here. 
And I ovre it all to Kit, as well as his idle rhyme and his 
music, and many other things. Shall I make an ill use of 



156 THE DOUBTS OF DIVES 

my treasure if I apply it to extend — ever so little — the play- 
time of the world ?' 

' Oh ! the play-time,' said Eosie. ' Do let us give a play- 
time to as many as we can.' 

' It is to brighten their lives. What does your foolish 
song say, Kit ? 

' "Life is long — for those who toil uot ; 
Only long— for those who play.' '' 

Kit laughed, but soberly. 

' Yes,' he said, ' that was in my play-time. Now I am 
going to preach the doctrine that no one ought to be allowed 
to become rich. Thus ' 

Sophia, who was beside him, kindly laid her hand upon 
his lips ; and so the rest of that sermon was lost. 

'And my explanations?' asked Eosie, as soon as she 
was alone with her lover, who really had all Kit's good 
qualities and none of his faults. ' Where are the promised 
explanations ?' 

' The explanations? Oh ! yes.' He took both her hands. 
' Once there was a young man who fell in love with a girl 
at first sight. They do sometimes. They are made that 
way. But there was another fellow — and so he wouldn't 
speak — and he and the other fellow getting mixed, you see — 
and what with one fellow changing his views and another 
his style, and one improving his ways and the other his 
manners ' 

' I quite see,' said Eosie, ' and the rest will keep. I don't 
w'ant any more explanations, if only — only — if you truly 
love me, Denny.' 

He had to postpone this assurance, because Kit and 
Geraldine came in — and she was dressed for travelling. 

' Kit,' said Eosie in her softest voice — in her most affec- 
tionate manner — in her mosc caressing way — ' dear Kit, I 
understand everything at last. Let us continue friends. 
Perhaps, unconsciously, we deceived each other. Let us 
continue friends for auld lang syne, and for Geraldine's 
sweet sake.' 



THE DEMONIAC 
CHAPTEE I. 

HOW THE THING CAME. 

A LITTLE knot of half-a-dozen men sat or lounged about the 
room. They had been sitting there all the evening. Some 
smoked cigarettes, more ruinous to the nerves than opium ; 
some took their tobacco in ancient fashion, with a pipe. On 
the table stood two or three bottles of Apolhnaris, and a 
bottle of whisky, newly opened for some young profligate 
who still dared to take it with his Apollinaris, in spite of 
public opinion. These men constituted the best set in the 
College : that was acknowledged by themselves. All were 
reading men, and all good men. They talked of literature, 
art, music, and poetry with equal readiness, and always with 
that fine breadth of handhug and those vigorous,_ certain 
strokes which belong especially to their time of Hfe. No 
critic so unrelenting as the critic of twenty-one : no demand 
for style more exacting than that of this critic. We lower 
our demands as we grow older and perceive that they are 
impossible. Just in the same way, we start with the belief 
that every great man is a hero : that every beautiful woman 
is an angel : that everything is possible to our own intellect : 
and that life is long enough to satisfy all our desires — all- 
all — even the boundless desires of youth. 

So they talked, these young men : sometimes they were 
cynical, as some young men love to be ; sometimes the en- 
thusiasm of youth flared up, and they were carried far above 
the region of the cynic, into the atmosphere of faith and 
hope. And when the college clock struck twelve, and one 



158 THE DEMONIAC 

man got up and said it was time for bed, everybody felt that 
the evening had passed away too quickly — as is, indeed, the 
case with every beautiful evening, and more especially the 
evening of life. Then the tenant of the rooms was left 
lone. 

His name was George Humphrey Atheling. He lay back 
in his easy-chair, loath to go to bed. The College, when the 
footsteps of the departing men ceased upon the stairs, became 
perfectly quiet. He was, after a little while, the only man 
out of bed. The candles on the table were burning low. 

' I suppose I must go,' he murmured with a sigh. 

Yet he lingered. He got up, however, and looked out of 
the window, which he threw open. The night air— it was 
early in the month of May — blew fresh and cold upon his 
cheek : the broad lawns of the Fellows' Garden stretched at 
his feet in the moonlight, the two great walnut-trees casting 
black shadows : beyond the lawns the flower-beds and shrubs 
lay massed together in black and white. He sighed again, 
being a little tired, and shut the window. 

Yet he made no haste to get into bed. For some reason 
or other, he did not want to go to bed : the thought of bed 
made him uneasy. He was nervous this evening ; he had 
become, since bis friends left him, suddenly and strangely 
excited. Yet why ? There was absolutely no i-eason why 
he should not lie down at once and go to sleep as usual. 
Nobody slept better or more readily than this young man. 
Nothing had happened to excite him or make him nervous. 
He had not been reading too hard — George was one of those 
happily-constituted persons who never read too hard. He 
had not been smoking too much — a couple of pipes is not 
excessive ; he had certainly not been drinking— George never 
did drink. He had not been gambling — he never did gamble, 
unless you call sixpenny points at whist gambling for a man 
who has seven thousand pounds a year of his own. George 
Atheling was a perfectly healthy, steady, and well-balanced 
young man, who had been at a school where the masters are 
said to have the greatest possible influence — and the best 
possible influence — over the boys, and are themselves, one 
and all, as remarkable for virtue as they are for football. 
For, if he lacked principle — a thing which one would be 
sorry to affirm — such a young man would make up for the 
defect by deeper reverence for Form For, many things 



flow THF. THING CAME 159 

which afford the greatest gratilication to th(i baser sort are 
regarded by such young men as beneath contempt, if only 
because they are bad Form. Ahnost everything is bad Form 
which pleases the great mass of mankind. Only those things 
are to be followed which advance the development or culti- 
vation of tlie soul, a thing which every young man must 
especially regard with jealousy. It will be perceived that 
this kind of teaching may very well convert a healthy boy 
into a self-conscious prig : in fact, it very often does. That 
is its weak side. On the other hand, when you have got a 
strong brain to deal with, there is no better way of beginning 
the world than to start with an immense respect for your 
own possibilities. 

George Atheling, owing to this enormous respect for him- 
self, read diligently for honours, desiring to get a First Class. 
It is always good for a young man, at the outset, to have a 
First Class behind him : it illustrates these possibilities in 
him. For the same reason, he cultivated literature, art, 
and music. That is to say, he conscientiously ploughed 
through the Masters, and endeavoured, as yet with small 
success, to understand what constitutes a good picture and 
what a sonata should suggest and teach. In some athletics 
he was good, especially in rowing : he spoke at the Union 
rather stiffly, but after careful preparation of his speech. It 
was understood that he w^ould certainly enter upon a politi- 
cal career, and his friends believed that he would quickly 
step to the front and become a great statesman. It is as- 
tonishing to reflect upon the magnificence of the careers 
prophesied for certain undergraduates by their friends. If 
only half the greatness were really to come off, the country 
would not be big enough to contain all its great men But 
though events do not come off exactly as they are prophe- 
sied, there are, as in every other condition of things, com- 
pensations. Many of the men, for instance, continue to 
believe in their own possible greatness, and are thereby made 
happy. Fate or accident has prevented them from receiving 
the world's acknowledgment of their greatness ; but all the 
same they are kings of men ; they are the unappreciated 
prophets. 

Had George Atheling continued in the line of life which 
he had laid down for himself, he would have gained his First 
Class : he would have been called to the Bar : he would 



t6o the demoniac 

have entered the House of Commons : and then But 

one cannot tell what might have happened aftervpards. Only 
one thing is certain, that the school priggishness would have 
been shaken off at an early period. A man of his bodily 
strength could never become a prig. Heard one ever of a 
great, strong man continuing in the paths of the prig? 

But he did not continue in that line of life. A thing hap- 
pened to him, this very night, which was destined to change 
his line of life altogether ; a very strange and terrible thing ; 
a thing which he had never suspected, dreaded, or antici- 
pated ; a thing of which he had never heard. 

Understand, to begin with, that there were no premoni- 
tions ; also, that he had no anxieties of any kind ; that he 
was perfectly happy, and satisfied with himself, his lot, and 
his expectations ; that he had heaps of money ; that he had 
no bad brothers, elder or younger ; that he had no foolish 
virgins for sisters ; that he was twenty-one years of age ; 
that he was perfectly sound and strong — a goodly and a 
proper young man. These things must all be clearly under- 
stood. 

To look at, he was a very fine young man. He stood over 
six feet in height, and for breadth of shoulder, depth of 
chest, solidity of legs and arras, was built for two inches 
more at least. Everything about him was modelled on a 
gigantic scale : his hands were big, his fingers long and 
strong ; his limbs were huge ; his head was big, his features 
were strong and distinct ; his short hair curled all over his 
head, for the very strength of it. He rowed five in the 
college boat, and had refused a place in the 'Varsity trial 
eights. 

Nothing wrong about this young man at all. Nature had 
fashioned him in her kindliest mood : nothing at all wrong. 
Natui-e is so seldom in a really kindly mood. For upon one 
she bestows an asthma, on another gout, on a third rheu- 
matism, on a fourth neuralgia : to speak only of nervous 
complaints which lie dormant for many years, and break 
out when one grows older. Another she afflicts with short 
sight, partial deafness, a stammer, a squint, or some other 
little defect or deformity which all through life shall pro- 
hibit perfect enjoyment. Others she endows with poverty, 
coupled with ambition ; or with obscure origin, coupled with 
poor cousins in multitudes ; or with stupidity, coupled with 



HOW THE THING CAME i6i 

rank which demands great parts. This young man she 
endowed with great riches, good birth, perfect health of 
body — so far as he himself or the world could understand — 
a strong brain, industry, and resolution, and ambition : what 
more can Nature possibly do for any man ? One thing 
more she can do. She can make him one of those who 
speak the great English language, and belong to one of the 
two gi-eat English nations. And this, too, Nature did for 
George Atheling. 

As he turned from the window his eyes fell upon an 
unopened letter on the mantelshelf. He took it and glanced 
at the handwriting. 

' It is from Elinor,' he said, and tore it open. 

' Deakest George,' it began, with affectionate familiarity 
— ' I think that I have at last succeeded in overcoming all 
scruples. My mother has given her consent at last ; the 
pater has never really objected. I am to enter Newnham 
in October. As I shall be eighteen in September, I may be 
supposed, at least, to know my own mind. I am getting on 
very well with my " coach," who is a delightful old gentle- 
man, and a miracle of learning. My Latin prose still leaves 
a good deal to be desired. In Greek I am doing much 
better. I work all day long, except for my two hours of 
exercise — which everybody, especially my coach, insists 
upon my taking every day. I ride or play tennis Oh ! I 
am full of ambition and of hopes ! We shall be under- 
graduates together, but you will be in your third year while 
I am in my first. You will look down upon me. Never 
mind ! 

' You dear old boy, I mean to get my First Class, too. 
The way has been shown by other women. I will be a 
First Class in Honours, if only to stand on the same intel- 
lectual level as my husband. He shall not be able to talk 
about things of which I understand nothing. What you 
read, I will read. I will be your companion and your equal : 
I will take my place beside you, not behind you. I could 
not marry a man who would look down upon me from 
heights which I was unable to reach, any more than I could 
marry a man whose mental level I could easily surmount. 
Not so, sir. If I go to Newnham it is that I may make 
myself worthy of oue who is to become a great man — a very 

u 



i62 THE DEMONIAC 

great man. Let me be a very great woman, if he is to take 
my hand. Write me long letters — quite long letters — if 
you can spare the time, all about yourself. Good-bye, you 
dear old George. 

' Affectionately, 

' Elinok.' 

A very pretty letter. It vv-ent straight to the young man's 
heart. His eyes softened as he read it. 

' Newnham, Nellie ! We shall be undergraduates to- 
gether. But I am afraid they v\7on't let me ask you to dine 
in Hall. . . .' 

Not much love in the letter, but enough. When young 
people have known each other so long— namely, from child- 
hood — and have dropped into an understood engagement, 
almost without a word spoken, at nineteen and sixteen, it 
would be absurd to think of raptures and darts and flames. 
A calm and steady flame, at best, was the love of these two 
young people for each other. 

' Newnham ! Nell at Newnham ! I wonder how often I 
shall be able to see her?' George put the letter in his 
pocket. ' Nell a First Class in the Classical Tripos ! Well, 
why not Nell, as well as any other?' 

He put out the candles and went into his bedroom. There 
a strange disquiet seized him : his heart began to beat ; he 
shivered ; he thought he must have taken cold. He hastened 
to seek the friendly embrace of the blankets. 

Now, if he had known what was going to happen, he 
would have sat up to wait for it. He would have met that 
thing broad awake, with a stout heart and an iron will. If 
he had understood the fluttering of his heart and the vague 
disquiet which filled his soul, he would have known that 
these things were caused by a benevolent fairy, incapable of 
doing more than pluck at his sleeve and whisper ni his ear 
and warn him — though by signs that he did not understand 
— not to go to bed that night at all. 

Because, you see, on his pillow, waiting till he should be 
asleep, when he could whisper evil things, and fill him 
with abominable purposes and horrid temptations, sat a 
Devil. George did not know this, unfortunately, and so lay 
down, closed his eyes, and in a few minutes fell fast asleep. 

He slept for two hours. Then, suddenly, he started 



HOW THE THING CAMf- 163 

violently. He heard, as one sometimes does in dreams, his 
own name called loudly, lie sat up in bed and listened. 
No, it was only a dream. 

He was about to lie down again, still half asleep, when 
he became aware of a most singular feeling in the throat. 
It was dry and parched : it grew drier, more parched, every 
moment : it seemed to be on lire : quickly, in a few moments, 
the dry throat became like a red-hot furnace, and there fell 
upou him a uecessity to drink, just as one must pour water 
upon llames. He sprang out of bed and seized the carafe. 
But he put it down without drinking any of the water. It 
was not water he wanted. Not all the water in the Nile 
would assuage that raging thirst or put out that fire. He 
rushed into the other room. On the table stood that bottle 
of whisky newly opened for the man who had taken a little. 
He seized a tumbler and half tilled it with spirit : then he 
filled up the glass with water, and drank it at one breath. 
Oh, the sweetness and the refreshment of that draught ! 
He took another and another, with deep-drawn sighs of 
satisfaction. Not Tantalus himself, when the water ceased 
to avoid his lips, drank with greater rapture or more greedi- 
ness. 

It was over. He wondered what it meant. What had 
he done to cause this sudden and horrible thirst — this raging 
fire in his throat ? He sighed again. It was over. Would 
it come again ? 

He went back to his bedroom : but he took the bottle 
with him ; and he sat on the bed, trying to understand the 
thing. Such a consuming thirst he had never before ex- 
perienced — not even after the first row over the course — 
not even when climbing painfully up the slopes of Snowdon 
— never had he felt, never had he conceived the idea of such 
a frightful, appalling, overwhelming thirst. 

No man in the world had ever been more temperate than 
George Atheling — not more abstemious, because he always 
took his pint of beer with his lunch and his claret with his 
dinner, like any other man. But not the least breath of 
suspicion had ever rested upon him in the matter of temper- 
ance. W^hisky and potash were to be had in his rooms by 
those who chose ; he never did. Punch and toddy are now 
as extinct as saloop and purl ; but the whisky and potash 
remains. 



1 64 THE DEMONIAC 

George, however, never drank this compound. Up to 
this moment his head had never felt the potency of drink, 
nor had his mind ever understood hov? men can crave for 
ardent Hquor. Never — never — never. 

Therefore the thing must clearly have been by the instiga- 
tion of the Devil. 

While he sat upon his bed the fiery thirst assailed him a 
second time. It was a flaming, roaring, raging, consuming, 
devouring thirst. He was all throat — burning, scorching 
throat. The thirst compelled him — forced him— drove him 
— to drink again. He drank plain whisky, whisky and 
water, plain whisky again. At last he seemed to have sub- 
dued the thing ; but he had nearly finished the bottle. 

He lay back wondering stupidly what it meant, and what 
illness was about to follow. Again — a third time — the fire 
broke out again. He drank up the rest of the bottle, 
dropped it from his hand on the floor, and fell back, asleep. 
The whole business had hardly lasted five minutes. Perhaps 
he had never been fully awake at all. 

At seven o'clock his gyp looked in to call him. He found 
his master lying on his back breathing heavily, his face 
flushed. At the bedside, on the floor, lay the empty bottle. 

' Good Lord !' said the man, ' I opened it last night at 
nine o'clock, and none of the gentlemen drank it. He's 
finished the whole bottle. Mr. Atheling ! who'd ha' thought 
it? Here, wake up, sir— wake up! Mr. Atheling— of all 
the gentlemen in the College !' 

He could not wake him up. He therefore desisted. 

The gyp — by name Mavis — was a man about five-and- 
forty. He belonged to the College ; his father had been a 
gyp before him, and his mother was a bedmaker ; he had 
never dreamed of anything better for him than the post he 
held. He had now been a gyp for twenty-five years ; that 
is, for eight generations of undergraduates. He was a man 
whom some men loathed, and others regarded as the best 
servant in the world. He was always respectful, always 
noiseless, always perfect in his work. Yet some men 
loathed him ; they spoke of worms, reptiles, and things that 
crawl, when his name was mentioned. His eyes were 
always downcast, and his face, clean shaven, was always 
pale. 



HOW THE THING CAME 165 

The gyp, therefore, finding that he could not wake up his 
master, took away the whisky-bottle, left him, and went 
about his work. 

At nine, at ten, and at eleven he looked into the room 
again. At last he found Mr. Atheling sitting in the bed, half- 
dressed. 

' Whatever is the matter, sir ?' asked the man. ' What in 
the world ' 



' I've got a splitting headache ' 

' Well, sir, you'll excuse me, but if you drink a whole bottle 
of whisky at night, what can you expect but a head like a 
lump o' lead? I wonder you're alive, sir, that I do. A 
whole bottle !' 

A whole bottle ! George started, remembering suddenly 
what had happened. 

' Mavis,' he said, ' something very strange has happened 
to me. I got up in the middle of the night with a raging 
thirst, and I began to drink. I had to drink, else I should 
have gone mad. Why ' — his eyes rolled and his voice 
became thick — ' I feel it again. I am going mad, I beheve. 
My throat is on fire — it is on fire !' 

He fell back upon the bed and buried his head in the 
pillows, with a groan. 

The gyp. Mavis, had seen other young men — they are by 
no means so numex'ous as they were wont to be fifty years 
ago at this ancient Seat of Learning — he had seen them in 
the repentant morning when punishment is administered 
with equal hand, and when hot coppers, fiery throats, dis- 
ordered stomachs, parched tongues and fevered brows are 
served out among young sinners. He knew the symptoms 
and supposed that these were no more than the eifects of an 
ordinary case. 

' What you want,' he said, ' is a small glass of stuff, neat 
— a hair oi the dog ' 

'Quick! Quick! The whisky. Bring it 1 Bring it !' 

The gyp opened another bottle and brought it. To his 
amazement, his master, the most sober of young men, did 
not wait for a glass, but began to pour the whisky down his 
throat, drinking it out of the bottle. 

' Good Lord !' he cried. ' Mr. Atheling, sir, consider : 
you'll kill yourself !' 

He caught his master by the arm and tried to take the 



t66 the demoniac 

bottle from him. George raised his fist, massive and 
ponderous. The gyp recoiled at the very sight of that huge 
weapon. He fell backwards into the tub, where he sat with 
eyes of terror and of amazement, regardless of the cold 
water, while he saw his master gasping between the drinks, 
with red, swollen cheeks and staring eyes. 

' Good Lord !' he cried again, ' he'll kill himself !' 
He got up and essayed to dry his clothes a little with the 
bath-towel. George went on drinking, but less greedily. 
The first strength of the attack was gone. Then it left 
him altogether and he staggered out into his keeping- 
room. 

Breakfast was laid, but he refused to take any, throwing 
himself into a chair. 

The gyp cleared away the things and left him, shutting 
the outer oak. 

When he came back about five or six in the evening, he 
found his master lying dead drunk on the floor ; and another 
bottle of whisky was gone. 

' Now,' said Mavis, ' I wonder what's best to be done for 
him and for me.' 

He contemplated this Fall of Man with more than common 
curiosity : other Adams he had seen fall in a like deplor- 
able manner, but never such an Adam — such an unexpected 
Fall. 

'Well,' he went on, 'nobody would have believed — 
nobody. The very last gentleman in the College — that's 
what I should ha' said. That's what the Master would ha' 
said. That's what the Tutor would ha' said. That's what 
all the gentlemen would ha' said. The very last ! And 
such a truly determined Go ! I never heard tell of such a 
drink before. I never see such a drink. He ought to be 
a dead un with all that whisky ! If he hadn't been such a 
uncommon big man he would be a dead un, too — stiff un 
and dead !' 

He lifted his master, with great difficulty, from the floor 
to the sofa ; and then he left him there. But he impressed 
upon the bedmaker, who knew nothing about the bottles of 
whisky, that Mr. Atheling was ill and must not be dis- 
turbed on any account. He himself would look after 
him. 

In the evening, at nine o'clock, the gyp came again. He 



HOW THE THING CAME 167 

laid out a little food upon the table in case his master should 
awake hungry, and lie left him in darkness and went away. 

It was full daylight when (xeorge awoke. He sat up on 
the sofa and looked round him. He had fallen asleep on 
the sofa. He remembered nothing more. He, got up, un- 
dressed, and went to bed. 

In the morning his gyp found him sleeping like a child. 
The fever had spent itself. 

Presently he arose and dressed. His hands shook, his 
head was aching ; but he felt no more thirst. 

' Mavis,' he said, ' you were here yesterday — in the morn- 
ing.' 

' I was, sir.' 

' Tell me : did you ever — did you ever see a man in such 
a condition before ?' 

' Well, sir,' said the man, ' I have seen many a gentleman 
as drunk as a log; but I don't think I ever see any gentle- 
man so fierce with it as you were yesterday morning. 
Lord ! It seemed as if you couldn't get the drink down 
fast enough !' 

' I could not, indeed. You have exactly described it.' 

' Three bottles of whisky gone since Tuesday night, and 
now it's Thursday. There's many a poor fellow as gets the 
Horrors on a good deal less than that. Three bottles of 
whisky in one night and a day ! Because last night you 
didn't drink anything.' 

' Mavis, who saw me besides yourself ?' 

' No one saw you. No one, sir. I took good care of that. 
I took away the bottles and told Mrs. Grip ' — she was the 
bedmaker — ' that you were ill and not to be disturbed. She 
suspects nothing. If she did, it would be all over the 
College by this time. No, sir ; I know my duty to the 
gentlemen of the College, I hope. Your oak was sported 
and you were not at home to anybody — not even to the 
Master, if he'd been taking a walk this way.' 

George breathed more freely. It is bad to be at the 
mercy of a servant ; but even that is better than to have 
your shame proclaimed all over the place, though you 

must He drew his purse from his pocket. There was 

in it a ten-pound note and some money. He took out the 
note and gave it to the gyp — thus the Britons bought out 
the Saxons, and the Saxons bought out the Danes. 



1 68 THE DEMONIAC 

'This,' he said, 'is for yesterday, for to-day and for to- 
morrow and ever afterwards.' 

' You're very kind, sir, I'm sure. I wasn't thinking of 
that.' Mavis pocketed the present with a smile of satis- 
faction which could not be restrained. ' Of course, sir, no 
one shall know. And if at any future time ■' 

' Silence !' cried George, with gathering wrath. ' There 
can be no future time. It is impossible !' 

He marched into his keeping-room, being now fully 
dressed. 

Mavis pulled out the note and looked at it. Yes— his 
eyes had not deceived him. It was a tenner. 

' Lord !' he said. ' Here's luck ! And it's only a begin- 
ning. He's sure to do it again. They always do. Pity ! 
Pity ! He's at the end of his second year a'ready. Ah ! 
what I might have made out of him by this time — if he'd 
only begun when he was a freshman !' 



CHAPTEE II. 

HOW THE THING WAS EECEIVED. 

George swallowed some breakfast. Then, reflecting that 
the men were all at lecture and that nobody would meet 
him, he took his hat and walked out of College. He wanted 
to be alone all day in order to think about it — to put the 
thing clearly to himself. In order to be alone he must walk 
out of the College and out of the town. 

He took the road before him — that which leads to 
Madingley — and tramped resolutely along the broad flat 
way which stretches across the broad flat country. 

For the first time in his life he was humiliated. Worse 
than humiliation had fallen upon him : a profound abase- 
ment — a feeling of degradation. He was hurled from his 
heights of self-respect. 'I am a hog! I am a hog!' he 
said a thousand times. ' I made no resistance ; I drank 
because I was thirsty. What became of my strength? 
Where was my will ? Where was my self-respect ? Ail — 
all — vanished in a moment. Why did this thing fall upon 
me ? How was it caussd ?' With other questions rising 
naturally out of the situation, just as an examination-paper 



HOW THE THh\G WAS RECEIVED 109 

rises naturcally out of the Peloponnesian War. Ouly, had 
he attempted to pass this examination, to answer these 
questions, he would have heen most certainly and surely 
plucked, because he had no answer to any single one. 

How did it happen? Why, it is a thing incredible. 
Who could expect it ? That a young man of strictly tem- 
perate habits should thus suddenly become a drunkard — 
that he should drink for two days and more without stop- 
ping . . . who could believe it ? There is a well-known 
story of a monk w^ho, for some reason, was condemned to 
commit one of the deadly sins. He chose drunkenness as 
the least deadly— if there is any difference in the deadliness 
of sins. When he recovered, he found that he had com- 
mitted all the rest. George iVtheling was like that monk in 
one respect — namely, that he had actually done the thing 
which he had always held in the greatest loathing and con- 
tempt. Like the late Duke of Sussex, he had always been 
inclined, on hearing the commandment, 'Thou shalt not 
get drunk,' to murmur, instead of the form appointed, the 
words, ' Never did that; never did that.' The_ command- 
ment forbade a thiug which was impossible to him. It was 
meant for other people. And he had done it : he was that 
miserable, cowardly creature — a drunkard ! 

He walked hard : he grew hot : he grew thirsty. A 
dreadful fear fell upon him that this might prove a return 
of the former thirst insatiable. He stopped at a little 
village shop where they kept gingerbeer, and ordered a 
bottle of this delectable compound with horrid forebodings. 

Nothing followed. His thirst was only the result of 
fatigue and exercise, coupled with the natural effects of this 
orgie. He drank his gingerbeer, and felt relieved. Pre- 
sently, he turned and walked back. When he reached the 
College he was so much better that he was encouraged to 
venture into Hall, where he accounted for his absence the 
day before by a little evasion— one of that kind not put 
down by the recording angel. He said he had had a touch 
of sore throat, which was perfectly true. He was looking 
ill, they told him. What he felt was that he might, at any 
moment, be seized at the throat by this Devil of a thirst 
and betray himself. Fortunately, this did not happen. 

He retreated, after Hall, to his own rooms, afraid to 
trust himself any longer among his friends. He went 



I70 THE DEMONIAC 

to bed early, not so much because he was tired, but 
because he was anxious. He went to bed with a dread- 
ful fear of what might happen. He woke at three, 
expectant. Nothing at all happened. He had no desire 
for drink. The thought of drinking whisky at that hour 
filled him with loathing. He laid his head upon the 
pillow, and fell asleep again. In the morning, he awoke 
perfectly recovered. He got up early, took a header in the 
College bath and a run round Parker's Piece before break- 
fast. He was himself again. Nay, though he thought of 
the thing with horror, it was principally because he had 
made so shameful a surrender. Should it ever come upon 
him again, he would fight it down. Certainly, he would 
fight it down. But, perhaps it would not come any more. 

Mavis, for his part, regarded his master with a greatly 
increased interest. And he took care, being a thought- 
ful gyp, and knowing what was due to his gentlemen, 
that there should be, ready to hand, at least one bottle 
of ardent spirits to carry his master along, in case he 
should again be visited by that consunjing thirst. It 
will be observed that Mavis belonged naturally to the tribe 
of those who live by providing for the vice of others. Mavis 
was disappointed. The time went on, and there was no 
second attack. He watched his master closely. He drank 
next to nothing. He trained and rowed in the College 
boat ; he read in the mornings, and in the evenings went 
about among the other men exactly as before. It seemed 
as if.he had forgotten that night and day. George had not 
forgotten it. Such a thing is not so readily forgotten ; he 
had yielded, cowardly. Such a thing as a disgraceful sur- 
render is not easily forgotten. But he had been taken 
unawares. If it should fall upon him a second time, he 
should know how to fight it. He had been attacked sud- 
denly, and in his sleep ; he was half asleep. Next time, 
should there ever happen a next time, he would meet it 
as a man should. 

Other things happened which prevented him from for- 
getting it. A man in the College — a man with whom 
George would not consort, a man of low and vicious habits 
— was known to be suffering from delirium tremens. This 
made the men talk of drink, and deepened George's abhor- 
rence of the pit into which he had fallen. There were 



HOW THE THING WAS RECEIVED 171 

articles and letters also going on at the time in the papers 
on the Great Temperance Question. These he read with a 
sense of guilt and shame. And one evening a thing was 
said which gave him food for much reflection. 

It was in a small company of talk in the evening. They 
were talking at large, encyclopaedically, as young men de- 
light to talk. Every clever young man would be Doctor 
Universalis — possessor of all the knowledge there is. For 
the moment they talked of heredity. 

' Everything is hereditary,' said one of them who was 
going in for science, and, therefore, had a right to pro- 
nounce. ' We inherit everything — our virtues and our 
vices, our strength and our weakness — from our fore- 
fathers.' 

' x\ccording to that,' said another, ' no man can be praised 
or blamed.' 

' Not for his virtues or his vices, but for the extent to 
which he carries them. When a child is born, we ought to 
be able to predict for him all the forces which are latent in 
his brain and are going to grow up with him. One grand- 
father was penurious, or one was extravagant ; one was 
rash, or one was timid; and so on. Unfortunately, we 
keep no record of our grandfathers and their peculiarities. 
If we were to begin to do this, it would be the better for 
our grandchildren. I take it that inherited tendencies may 
be strengthened or weakened according to the action of any 
generation. If the worst man in the whole world could 
realize the miseries his way of life was transmitting to his 
children, he would instantly become virtuous.' 

' Well, but we inherit all the virtues that there are, as 
well as all the vices. And we inherit all the diseases that 
there are as well.' 

' As for the diseases, each generation gets, happily, only 
a part. Asthma goes to one, and gout to another. I sup- 
pose it is the same with the virtues and the vices. We 
haven't time, in seventy years, to work through the whole 
of our inheritance. Methuselah is the only man who really 
did that. Things seem capricious only because we have 
not found out a Law of Heredity. Take the most hereditary 
thing of all, for instance — drunkenness.' 

' Drunkenness hereditary ?' 

' Why, of course it is. As hereditary as gout. In a large 



172 THE DEMONIAC 

family it will attack one and spare all the rest. Or it will 
jump over a whole generation, and break out in the next.' 

George heard no more. For now he remembered a little 
episode in his own family history — a thing he had heard 
once, and had long since forgotten. His own grandfather — 
his mother's father — had, to use a familiar expression, 
drunk himself to death. He remembered plainly hearing 
that fact stated somewhere — drunk himself to death. How, 
he wondered, philologically, can a man drink himself ? 
Why, if every draught accelerates his end, the liquor may, 
by a figure of speech, stand for the breath of life. He 
drinks himself up. 

Who told him this ? Not his mother, certainly. Yet he 
knew it. He had heard it. His grandfather died quite 
young — under thirty. He drank himself to death. So 
this, then, was part of his inheritance. His friends talked 
he sat silent, resolving to meet this danger with a strong 
will and the courage of a valiant heart. He longed for the 
occasion to arrive. The sooner it came the better. Since 
the battle had to be fought out, let it be fought speedily 
while he was at his strongest and best. 

The occasion lingered. The term passed by without any 
further trouble. 

On the last day of term most of the men went down. It 
suited his arrangements to stay up for one day longer. He 
had almost ceased to fear the Thing. He was so sure of 
his power to meet it, when it came, that he tried to trouble 
himself no more about it. To be sure he had yielded 
shamefully. But then he was taken unawares. The next 
time 

He sat reading in his room until midnight. Then he 
went to bed and fell asleep. 

Early in the morning, before daybreak, he awoke with a 
start. The horrible thirst was upon him a second time ; 
the fire in his throat, the craving — irresistible, vehement — 
for strong drink had seized him again. 

He made no resistance ; he attempted none : it seemed 
impossible for him to think of resistance : he never thought 
of resisting. He rushed into the other room. 
'"There was no whisky. He found a bottle of brandy, and 
drank that. When it was fiuished, he hurled himself upon 
»he bottles of sherry as Ajax thi-ew himself upon the inno- 



HOW THE THING ]VAS RECEIVED 17.^ 

cent sheep, and made dead men of every one till he rolled 
over and became an unconscious log. 

Three days later, pale and haggard, knocked to pieces by 
au orgie far longer, far worse than the first — an orgic which 
terrihed the gyp, and almost drove him to reveal what was 
going on to the tutor — George went down. Mavis, after he 
had carried his master's portmanteau to the College gates, 
went back to his staircase, and sat on the stairs smiling 
with satisfaction. In his pocket was another ten-pound 
note. Very few College gyps, he reflected, even when 
they've got a young nobleman on their stairs, had made a 
better term of it than he had done. 

George went down, wrecked in mind more than in body. 
For a man may fail once and yet retrieve his good name. 
Eegimeuts have been known to run away from the enemy 
one day and to defeat them the next. But George failed 
twice, and the second failure was far worse than the first. 

He fell into despair. He could no longer associate with 
other men. He must leave the University. He wrote at 
once to take his name off the College books without assign- 
ing any reason. 

' Pity he is so rich,' said the tutor. ' I hoped that he 
would have gone on as he began, without the ordinary 
stimulus of necessity. Nobody ought to be allowed to be 
rich till he is fifty at least.' 

He w^as himself doing extremely well, and he was forty- 
nine. 

The tutor was wrong. It was not his big income which 
made him lazy ; it was this truly awful Thing that had 
fallen upon him. This it was that made him afraid and 
ashamed to return among his old friends. Sooner or later 
they would find him out. 

Once — twice — in Cambridge. A month later — in London, 
and never any resistance at all. Never the least power of 
resistance. As soon as the fiery furnace began to burn in 
his throat, he rushed to the bottles and drank — drank — 
drank — mad — mad to extinguish the flames. 

All that summer he stayed in London. He would not 
trust himself to see his fiancee, Elinor Thanet. He wrote 
making excuses. He was afraid to face her. 

Then a great dread fell upon him that he might somehow 
b© attacked without the means of allaying the Thing. Hu 



174 THE DEMONIAC 

thought he must have with him always a confidential 
servant who would know what to do. There was the man 
Mavis. He did not like the man much ; but he was a good 
servant, and he knew the truth. Perhaps he would give up 
the College. He telegraphed to Mavis. 

Mavis came. He was willing to leave the College if it 
was made worth his while. He was more chan wilhng to 
act as the keeper of a gentleman who wanted somebody to 
look after him. Mavis proved a person of great resource : 
he did not propose resistance or any other impossibilities : 
he accepted the facts of the case : he looked for, and found, 
to begin with, a cottage at a convenient distance from town 
and quite in the country. On three occasions, between the 
months of June and the end of September, he took his 
master down to this retreat. He also took with him a large 
hamper containing ardent drinks of various kinds. 

In the intervals between these visits, George found him- 
self perfectly, absolutely free from the desire for drink. He 
loathed the sight of whisky : he became almost a total 
abstainer. In other respects, he was the same as before : 
perfectly strong and healthy both in mind and body. But 
when the attack began he made no more attempt at resistance 
than a man with neuralgia does to persuade himself that 
there is no pain anywhere. 

He fell into a profound melancholy. He now fully under- 
stood that the same disease which had killed his grandfather 
had fallen upon himself. His career was stopped at the 
outset : there would be no career possible for him. How 
can a man do anything who has to go away into hiding every 
month or so, while the Devil forces him to make a hog of 
himself ? 

When the men came back to College in October it was 
reported that Mavis, the gyp, had resigned. It was also 
said that Atheling had taken his name off the books. 
Atheling ? What on earth did he do that for ? Atheling ? 
Of all the men in the College, the last they would let go. 
Atheling ? What did it mean ? Despondency fell upon 
the whole College, insomuch that the freshmen were awed 
and hushed, and in Hall there was no laughter, and in the 
rooms there were no stories told ; and the College boat, for 
want of their old number five, began, like Noah's Ark, to 
creep slowly upon the face of the waters. 



HOW THE THING WAS RECEIVED 175 

George's rooms were taken by a freshman named John 
Carew, a youth of promise who had obtained the first 
entrance scholarship, brouglit up a scliolarship from St. 
Paul's, and was expected to become a Bell Scholar. 

This young man took over the furniture of his predecessor 
at a valuation. One morning, while he was searching in a 
drawer of his writing-table, he came upon a layer of old 
stationery. Among the envelopes was a cabinet photograph 
representing the face of a very good-looking young man 
indeed. 

' What is this?' said Carew, showing it to a man in the 
room at the time. He w^as a third year man. 

' Why,' said he, 'it is a portrait of Atheling, who was 
going to do such great things — only they have not come off. 
No one knows why he went down or where he is now. 
Cherchez la J'cmme, perhaps,' added the philosopher of 
twenty-two. 

' Anyhow,' said Carew, ' he had a good face — an admir- 
able face. One would not readily forget such a face as that. 
I wish I had known him. A face that one could not forget 
if one tried.' 



CHAPTEE III. 

OF THE FALLING OUT. 

' So, sir,' said Elinor, stepping across the lawn to meet her 
lover, ' you have come at last.' 

It was a warm and sunny afternoon towards the end of 
September. A broad lawm stretched in front of a goodly 
country house, modern, perhaps too new ; but the Thanets 
are new people, as everybody knows. Yet not so very new ; 
and their novelty is gilded. Not people of to-day, but of 
yesterday, or even the day before yesterday. 

It matters very little m these days how the money is 
made ; but it may be mentioned, as a detail, that the Tlianet 
money was made by Elinor's grandfather in the good old 
days of railway making, when the founder of the family 
engineered, contracted, and constructed on the largest 
scale possible, with results of a most satisfactory kind. 

Ehnor herself, an only child, might, judging from her 



176 THE DEMONIAC 

appearance, have been the daughter of a hundred belted 
earls ; but then our English girls, when they have got the 
wherewithal, do in the second generation easily assume the 
aristocratic manner and appearance. She was still quite 
young, not more than eighteen ; more womanly in figure 
than most girls of that age, and rather more serious in 
countenance. This was, perhaps, due to her difficulties 
with Latin prose, which still continued to give her anxiety. 
It might also be partly caused by the neglect of her lover, 
who had not been to see her all the summer. 

' You have treated me so abominably, sir,' she said, 
giving him both her hands, ' that I had almost made up my 
mind ' 

' I am so very sorry, Nell. I could not possibly come 
before. I have been kept in town by all kinds of business, 
and ' 

' Oh ! business, indeed !' she laughed, incredulous. ' You 
know, George, you have never had any business in your 
life. First, I thought you were going up for the Long ; 
then you said you were going to France or somewhere ; 
then I had that strange letter from you.' 

' Forget that letter, Nell. I was ill when I wrote it.' 

' I have forgotten it, because you would not have written 
it if you had been well. I tore it up. But, George, you 
must have been very ill to write such a strange, rambling 
letter, all about heredity, and duty to posterity, and I know 
not what.' 

' I had a feverish cold which made me light-headed for a 
few hours. Forget that letter, Nelly. I wrote it when I 
was only half myself, and full of queer fancies.' 

' Oh, it is nothing. It is forgotten. Let me look at you. 
George, you don't look at all well — whatever is the matter 
with you ?' 

' Nothing, Nell. Nothing at all. What should there 
be?' 

' Your face looks — what shall I say ? — puffy, and your 
eyes look anxious. What has happened ?' she asked 
earnestly. 

' Nothing has happened, Nell, except that I was certainly 
ill for a few days. What should have happened ?' 

She shook her head . 

' Something,' she said. ' Why, I found out from your 



OF THE FALLISG OUT 177 

letters that something was wrong. There has been -I 
don't know— a discordant note in them for two or three 
months. Well, you will tell me — won't you, George? -if 
there is any trouble '? How can we be happy together unless 
we share all our troubles, whatever they may be ?' 

' Yes, Nell, yes — you ai-e quite right. I will take all your 
troubles on my own back, and you shall have no part of 
mine. Come, that is my idea of fair division.' 

She shook her head. That would not do. 

' Well, then,' said George, ' let us talk about something 
else — about you, for instance. Tell me all that you are 
doing. Who is here, to begin with?' 

George kept the talk on things indifferent until it was 
time to dress. 

' I must tell her,' he murmured during that ceremony. 
' I must tell her something — -enough. This is to be my last 
visit. I will tell her to-morrow morning.' 

' Mamma dear,' said Elinor, on her way to dress, ' there 
is something wrong with George.' 

' What should there be ?' 

' I do not know. Something there is. Watch him during 
dinner. ' 

No one else observed any change in him. Mr. Thanet 
congratulated him on looking so well. A certain learned 
physician, who was of the company and an old friend, told 
him that he ought to be the happiest man in the world : 
meaning, because he was young, strong and lusty, rich, and 
happy in his love. 

Those who were not old friends regarded with admira- 
tion this magnificent specimen of humanity. If they were 
ladies, they envied the lot of Elinor ; and if they were men, 
they envied the lot of the man himself. Fortunate in love ; 
fortunate in gifts and graces ; fortunate in birth, wealth, 
and understanding : what more could Nature give him ? 
She had given him, in addition to these inherited qualities, 
a grandfather who drank himself to death. 

George had little conversation with Elinor during the 
dinner. She observed that his hand shook a great deal : at 
this she marvelled, kwdi she observed that he drank no 
wine, a thing which now causes no astoni'^hment. He must 
have been very ill, she thought, when he wrote that letter. 

12 



178 THE DEMONIAC 

That illness had not completely left him yet. It altered the 
tone of his letters : it altered the look in his eyes. 

' My dear,' said her mother, after dinner, ' you are too 
anxious ahout George : he seems to me very well.' 

' No ; he is not well. He is fidgety and nervous. I 
dare say he will tell me about it to-morrow.' 

George passed a most uncomfortable night. This was 
inevitable, because he knew that certain things must be 
said in the morning : certain things must be told which 
would not be well received. He was not going to tell all 
the things which had happened — not all. He could not go 
to the girl and say : 

' Nelly, the man you love is afflicted with a dire and 
dreadful disease. He is assailed by a fiend who brings him 
a bottle and commands him to drink. He is so weak and 
cowardly that he has yielded to this Devil without the least 
resistance. He has never resisted him at all. He has 
never even attempted to resist him. He has been pre- 
vented from coming here all the summer by one attack after 
the other. He is only here at great risk of being found out, 
and between his attacks. He has a man-servant whose 
chief duty it is to watch for the approach of the next attack, 
and to take care of him while it lasts. In plain language, 
your lover has become a confirmed drunkard in the short 
space of three months !' 

Could he say all this to the girl ? Could he write this to 
her? Could he even say this to himself in so many words ? 

In the morning he declined to join the shooting-party, 
and remained at home in order to tell as much as he dared 
— as much, in fact, as would put an end to his engagement. 
He was going to commit a kind of suicide. Heavens ! If 
anyone had told him six months agone that he would of his 
own accord try to find out words strong enough and cruel 
enough to break off his engagement ! 

'Come into the library, George,' said Elinor; 'you have 
something to tell me. We can talk quite freely now.' 

This was her own study. A table in one of the windows 
was covered with her books and papers. She sat down in 
her own arm-chair before the table. 

' I am getting on very well, George. My coach is quite 
satisfied with me.' 



OF THE FALLING OUT 179 

' I am very glad, if it pleases you, Nell. What I have to 
tell you will not please you so much, I think.' 

He turned his head, afraid to meet her eyes 

' What is it ?' 

He went to the open window and looked out. 

' Only that we shall not be undergraduates together, after 
all.' 

' George 1' She sprang to her feet. ' Not undergraduates 
together !' 

' I have made up my mind, in fact, that I would give up 
reading for Honours. I think the time may be more pro- 
fitably employed.' 

' In what way ? Why, you have always believed that a 
First Class in Honours is the best start a man can possibly 
make !' 

' I certainly used to hold that belief : I do so no longer. 
If you consider our statesmen,' he said grandly, ' our lead- 
ing statesmen, you will observe that hardly any of them 
have got a First Class. Now, I think that the study of 
politics, history, perhaps modern languages ' 

' But, George, that is quite a new departure !' 

' Quite a new departure. And, in short, I have already 
taken my name off the College books. I am not going back 
to Cambridge at all.' 

' Oh ! but this is terrible ! I cannot understand it. Oh ! 
George, I am so sorry — I am so very sorry !' 

The tears came into her eyes as she spoke. 

' It is done now,' he replied doggedly. 

' But I don't understand it,' she said. ' What does it 
mean ? When I saw you last — in May was it ? or in April ? 
— not since then — a long while ago — you were full of your 
work and of College matters. You were resolved on getting 
into the First Class. Nothing at all has happened since. 
Yes, George ' — she laid her hand upon his arms — ' some- 
thing has happened. You are ill — you wrote an incoherent 
letter. Has that illness anything to do with it ? Are you 
still suffering from its effects? You are not yourself — your 
hand shakes — your eyes are anxious — and they are cold,' 
she added. 

' Nothing at all has happened, Nell. As for my illness — 
that was nothing.' 

' Do you remember, George, years ago when you were a 



I So THE DEMONIAC 

boy and you wanted to hide from me that ugly cut in your 
left arm, how you persisted in saying that nothing had 
happened — till the blood ran down? Now, George, no 
more fibs and fictions. Tell me, straight, what has come 
over you ?' 

' There is nothing to tell, I assure you.' 

'Why, your looks belie you. Your eyes are guilty. 
Come, tell me what it is. Have you done anything foolish ? 
Any young man might, though you would be the last. I 
have heard of men being rusticated for foolish things — 
making bonfires or something ; but you could not possibly 
go making bonfires.' 

' No ; I have not been rusticated. I simply got tired of 
reading. What is the good of a First Class to me? To 
some poor devil who has got his way to make in the world, 
I dare say it helps more than a bit. But to me ' 

' To you ? Why, of all men in the world, George, you 
have got your own way to make. What signifies money ? 
You may use your wealth as one means — but the least 
worthy — of making your way. Where are your ambitions ?' 

' I think — they are all gone, Nell,' he replied, trying to 
speak and look cheerfully. ' They are all gone into the 
limbo of forgotten resolutions. I have ceased to think in 
the old way.' 

' Gone ? Your ambitions gone ? Why, they are a part 
and parcel of yourself ! You have always taught me so. 
Without ambition, what is life ? Who would desire to live 
from day to day without work and without hope ? They 
are your own words, George. You have said them a thou- 
sand times. And now you tell me that you are changed.' 

' Yes ; I am changed.' 

' Changed — iu everything, George ?' 

He hesitated. He made no reply. 

' If you are so much changed,' she went on, ' where is 
the George to whom I am engaged ?' 

He hesitated still. Then he said, slowly and painfully : 

' I am quite changed. That is true. I don't seem, some- 
how, to care so much for the career which you and I have 
so often sketched out and dreamed over. That is the change 
in me. I have had enough of the University. It is only a 
continuation of school, after all. Let me be my own master. 
I dare say that the old ambitions will return. It is, as you 



OF THE FALLING OUT l8l 

say — well then, as I used to say — rather a pity to sit down 
and do nothing all your life. It is like creating a new vice 
to be handed down to your children. Everything that we 
do or suffer, you know, is handed down to our children. 
We may make them gouty, or rheumatic, or consumptive : 
we may make them lazy or industrious : we may make 
them drunkards if we choose ' 

' Well, yes, we can do all these fine things, I dare say. 
You said something like this in your mad letter. But, my 
dear George, some ancestor of yours must have been a 
preacher of moral commonplace, and you have only just 
found it out. Seriously, what does it all mean ? Why do 
you go off on heredity ? That has nothing to do with the 
loss of your ambitions and the surrender of your career.' 

' You will agree with me,' he w^ent on, speaking in a con- 
strained and harsh voice, ' when you think things over. We 
will give up all the foolish ambitions, and let the world take 
care of itself. What is the world to us? What has the 
world done for us ? Why should we do anything for the 
world ?' 

Yet a faltering in his voice. It was as if the new man 
had no belief in himself. Strange ! What had come over 
George ? The girl was bewildered. 

' I do not understand,' she said again. 

' Give up your own idle dreams, Nell. What does it 
matter whether you get a First Class or not ? Think no 
more about these trifles. Let us enjoy the world. We are 
young. The world belongs to the rich and to the young. 
Let us enjoy the world.' 

Again it was as if he did not believe his own words. 
There was no ring of conviction in them. George was quite 
— quite changed. At any rats, whatever he used to say, he 
used to believe. The girl blushed a rosy red. It was because 
she was forming a most portentous resolution. 

' If you have abandoned your ambitions,' she said slowly, 
' you have abandoned yourself. You tell me that nothing 
has happened. Why, I have lost my old friend — my old 
companion— my ' — her voice shook — ' my lover !' 

' No, Nelly ; not that.' 

Again no sincerity. His face was unmoved. Nay, she 
even thought that there .was a look of relief in his eyes, as 
if he was actually pleased at his own dismissal. 



1 82 THE DEMONIAC 

' He is gone,' she went on. ' Well, when he returns to 
himself, he will, perhaps, come to see me again. Till then 
I do not desire to see him, or any substitute of him, or any 
person parading under his name. Do you understand — 
Pretender ?' 

' I believe I understand.' 

' Tell the real George that I am still his. I belong to 
him, whether he returns or whether he does not, until he 
himself sends me a release.' 

' May not I give you release?' 

' Certainly not, sir ! You are not George Atheling. I 
must hear it from my old companion — from my lover — from 
himself.' 

She turned and walked out of the library with a dignity 
beyond her years. George made no effort, even by gesture 
or by word, to stop her. 

' It was inevitable,' he said when the door closed behind 
her. ' It was inevitable.' He sighed — unmanly tears filled 
his eyes. ' I had to do it. I have been cruel — cold — lying 
— but it had to be done. I am a brute and a cad — but it 
was forced upon me. Poor child ! It is a dreadful blow to 
her. But it had to be done some time. The sooner the 
better. She is only eighteen, and she will get over it — in 

time. She will forget me, and fall in love with ' He 

stamped his foot, and cursed that unknown lover of his 
imagination. ' Well, all is gone now— freedom, honour, 
ambition, love — nothing left but money to buy the stuff that 
is killing me and strength to prolong the agony — unless I 
end it — yes, yes — end it on the Voluntary Principle.' 

He went out and sought the Post-office, whence he de- 
spatched a telegram to his servant — the faithful Mavis. 

At luncheon time — Elinor had a headache and remained 
in her own room — a telegram arrived for Mr. Atheling. 

' Fortunate,' he said, ' that I was not out shooting. This 
telegram calls me back. I must return to London imme- 
diately.' 

' Immediately?' asked Mrs. Thanet. ' But you will come 
back as soon as you can ?' 

' As soon as I can,' George repeated mechanically. ' And 
now I have only just time to catch the half-past two train if 
I go at once.' 

Upstairs Elinor sat alone, as miserable as a girl under 



OF THE FALLING OUT 183 

these sad circumstances cau expect to be. She had lost her 
lover and her old familiar friend. 

She was a clear-headed girl, and under no illusions. She 
perceived that for some reason or other he wished to break 
off the engagement. His words, his looks, his manner, all 
showed that he desired to be free. Well, she had set him 
free. She expected now that he would write her a letter of 
release. 

She told her mother that George had altered his views of 
life, and that in a way so important that for the present 
there must be no further talk about him. Meantime, she 
said that, unless George released her, she was still bound to 
him. And, as I said above, she was as miserable as a girl 
under such sad circumstances can expect to be. But the 
Latin prose, which she still continued, diverted her thoughts, 
and the near prospect of Newnham sustained her. She 
needed both support and diversion, because George made 
no sign and sent her no release. 



CHAPTEE IV. 

OF THE PHYSICIAN. 

' Yes,' said the Physician — the idiomatic ' yes,' which does 
not mean assent, or promise, or anything of that kind, but 
encourages the other man to continue. 

The other man was George. He was doing what he ought 
to have done at the very outset — consulting a man of science, 
a specialist in nervous disorders. 

' Well, I have come to tell you the facts — in confidence.' 

' Go on, young gentleman. Again let us hear the facts. 
You are sulferiug from drink-craving, I gather.' 

George narrated the facts of the case. Let us do him so 
much justice. He told everything, exactly. He concealed 
nothing : not his own cowardly want of will : not his reli- 
ance on the secrecy of his servant : nothing. He sat in the 
chair of suspense, the chair of anxiety, the chair of the 
Patient : he made plenary confession. 

' You have now told me everything?' said the Physician. 

' Everything. Can you give me any hope ?' 



1 84 THE DEMONIAC 

The Physician was old. He looked with pity on this 
young man. 

' There is always,' he said benevolently, ' hope — for the 
patient.' 

' Not always, I suppose, for the Physician ?' 
' For the Physician,' the man of science repeated, ' not 
always. For the patient, always. Hope, young gentleman, 
is a great medicine.' 

' Tell me the worst. Doctor.' 

The patient was at his lowest point of despondency. He 
reached, as you will hear, a lower point of submission, but 
never a lower point of despondency. It was after his inter- 
view with Elinor. He had begun to realize the dreariness 
of life when there is nothing to work for, nothing to hope. 
What is the use of reading or work of any kind, when one 
has been ordered at the age of twenty-one to retire into 
obscurity, sit down, and take no more part in anything? 

' The worst ? You know it. As for hope, it depends upon 
yourself. Your case is serious ; yet you are young, and you 
should be brave. It has gone on for some time, and has 
assumed already an apparent mastery. Yet, again, j'ou are 
young, and you should be courageous. It is an hereditary 
rUium — your grandfather, you tell me — and it certainly 
broke out without the least warning, just as one observes in 
asthma and other nervous disorders. It is a very hereditary 
thing. Yes, you are seized with an irresistible craving for 
drink.' 

' Irresistible as the flood of Niagara. ' 

' You seem to have no power of resistance. You are 
driven like a sheep ' 

' Like a silly sheep.' 

' You fall to drinking furiously, vehemently. You drink 
enormous quantities of the strongest spirits : you drink 
enough to kill you at ordinary times. In a day or two the 
fit passes. Yes. . . . All this time your will is paralyzed.' 

' The mind refuses to work. It is Possession.' 

' Call it so, if you please.' 

' I cannot think, but the brain goes on working of its own 
accord. I think a madman's brain may work in the same 
manner.' 

' Undoubtedly.' 

' It presents me with a never-ending procession of goblins : 



OF THE PHYSICIAN 185 

images dance and caper — anything but walk — before my 
eyes : they are creatures that have no shape or form that 
one ever saw : they have heads of animals : they have 
human faces which mock and jeer : they have eyes which 
threaten and haunt. I hear voices in unknown tongues, but 
they are hostile voices. Doctor, 1 cannot explain to you 
half the horrors which attend the close of one of these 
attacks.' 

' The common sort call tliem, simply, the Horrors.' 

■ Between the attacks, as at this moment, I feel no desire 
for drink at all. I loathe it for the memory of these suffer- 
ings. When the attack begins the loathing is turned into 
craving.' 

' You can always keep a fire alight by feeding it.' 

' I think of uothmg but to satisfy the craving.' 

' Have your friends advised you ?' 

' No one knows anything about it ; no one suspects. I 
liave left Cambridge in order not to be found out. My gyp, 
who knows, I first silenced by a bribe, and have since taken 
into my service. He never leaves me.' 

' Ah !' The Physician looked dubious. ' A constant 
attendant is useful in certain cases. But he should be a 
judicious person, acting under instructions. Else ' 

' I have taken chambers in town. None of my friends 
know my address— I go nowhere. For greater, security, I 
have a cottage not far from London, in a lonely spot, where 
I take refuge whenever I have warning. My man Mavis 
knows the symptoms by this time. He watches for them 
like a cat for a mouse. At the first appearance of the 
symptoms, he hurries me off to my cottage. With no one 
else in the place except ourselves, I have it out.' 

' This useful attendant takes good care that the stuff shall 
be in readiness, I suppose ?' 

' Oh yes — and plenty of it.' 

' May I ask if the good man drinks with you, in a fz'iendly 
way ?' 

George changed colour. 

' On such occasions,' he said, ' what can it matter? At 
■ A\ other times he is a respectful and obedient servant. At 
the cottage he is — what you please — a brother tosspot.' 

' Craving may be infectious. Young gentleman, have you 
never even tried to fight against it ?' 



t86 the demoniac 

' Fight against it ? Why, the Thing is a Devil ! Fight 
against it ? You can't fight a Devil ! When first he flew 
at my throat, I thought it yv&s the Devil. Now I am certain 
of it. You may try to fight a Devil if you hke, but he will 
best you, and that very soon.' 

' There used to be a few old-fashioned ideas on that sub- 
ject,' said the Physician, ' which I would recommend you to 
consider. The phraseology is antiquated, but you could 
perhaps clothe them anew.' 

' Yes, it is easy for you to talk. One might have expected 
this advice. But you never had such a Devil to fight— you 
never had such a Devil.' 

The Physician, who was old and experienced, shook his 
head, as one who could tell very good stories about the 
Devil, and of man's duels with him, on occasion and at 
proper times. 

' I'm quite sure you never knew such a Devil. Why, this 
one draws and drags a man with ropes : he parches his 
throat, and sets it on fire : he makes him gasp and catch his 
breath. When he has become like one lost on a sandy 
desert, he gives him' — the young man's face and gestures 
showed that it was his own experience that he was de- 
scribing — ' he gives him ' — he gasped and drew a long 
breath— 'a Bottle — a heavenly— ah ! — beautiful — ah! — 
Bottle — filled full — it can't be too full — with brandy, 
whisky, anything — ah ! — and he bids him drink and be 
happy. Fight such a Devil as that ? Doctor, I don't 
believe that anybody ever did fight him. You know how 
Christian's famous fight in the valley ended— well, if Apollyon 
had been armed with a fiery furnace to ram down Chris- 
tian's throat and a, bottle to give him afterwards, Apollyon 
would have won. When he is away, I feel strong ; I am 
resolved to fight him ; I am quite resolute and determined. 
When he comes, I let my weapons fall — shield and lance 
and sword — I am a prisoner !' 

He sank back in his chair, despairing. 
' He should be exorcised by bell, book, and candle,' said 
the Physician. ' In the days of Faith that would have been 
practicable. Yes, in the old days you would have been 
healed by Faith. ' 

' Well, since I do not believe ' 

' The case is less simple by reason of your unbelief. You 



OF THE PHYSICIAN 187 

have no fight left in you, that is plain. Nerve and will are 
broken. You can make no resistance. What should have 
beeu beaten back as a suggestion of evil comes in the shape 
of a Lord and Master ' 

' It does.' 

' Then you must find someone to fight the Devil for you. 
Your factotum — your brother tosspot — your boon companion 
— this ancient gyp — can he fight him for you?' 

' Certainly not. He is paid to keep me out of harm and 
beyond the reach of discovery. That is all he can do. 
Once he refused to bring me more. He won't do that again.' 

' Someone else, then.' 

The young man rose from his chair. 

' Look at me, Doctor,' he said. ' Do I look like a man 
easy to tackle ? Eemember, if anyone comes to fight the 
Devil for me, he will have to fight the Devil and me as well 
— both together ; for the Devil is inside of me then, and 1 
have the strength of twenty.' 

You have seen that this young man was no puny creature, 
but quite the reverse. We are accustomed to think that 
persons afiflicted with such a dreadful infirmity are generally 
wretched creatures of weak frame and feeble heads — what 
the London slang calls half-baked— the children of rickety 
parents. Physicians know better. This disease singles out 
the strongest and best, as well as the weakest and worst. 
It is as impartial as the sunshine : it is as free from 
favouritism as rheumatism, gout, asthma, or any other 
disease by which mankind is plagued because of ignorance. 
It drags down, slowly and swiftly, the clearest intellect : it 
humbles the finest scholar ; it ruins the most brilliant wit : 
it corrupts the brain of the noblest poet : it knows no respect 
for crowned heads, and shows no pity for paupers. Consider 
this case : this splendid young man : this stalwart frame : 
this active brain : this masterpiece of Nature. No pity : 
ruthless destruction of what would have been a noble life : 
ruin of the fairest prospects. No pity ! None ! And all 
because men are so ignorant that they cannot avert hereditary 
disease ; so ignorant that they go on creating hereditary 
disease. Ignorance, my brothers, ignorance it is which fills 
our hospitals and our prisons ; that cuts short our lives, and 
plagues with grievous pains and sufferings. Ignorance, 
nothing more ! 



i88 THE DEMONIAC 

' You look so big aud strong, young man, that I cannot 
believe you to be such an arrant coward.' 

George flushed up ; but he restrained himself. 

' A coward !' repeated the Physician. ' Say that to your- 
self every time you rush to the whisky-bottle. A coward ! 
You do w^ell to take your name off the College books and 
to break off your engagement. You are not fit to associate 
with gentlemen or to marry a gentlewoman !' 

' It is true,' George murmured. ' It is quite true.' 

' Some poor creatures, like yourself, who have not the 
resolution to bear any pain, however fleeting, seek refuge 
in an Asylum. Here they may get looked after and kept 
from drink. You would not. You would bribe the servants : 
you are too rich for the honesty of any servants.' 

' I believe I am,' said George. 

'There is a way of nauseating patients— putting brandy 
into their food.' 

' I am nauseated already. I loathe the sight of spirits.' 

' Or you might be subjected to hypnotic ' 

' I've tried it. No mortal man can hypnotize me.' 

' Then there is one chance for you — your only chance- 
to be placed in some position where drink is absolutely un- 
obtainable. For instance, a temperance ship, where no 
drink is carried on board at all. There are sucla ships. You 
might, perhaps, take a voyage to New Zealand and back in 
such a ship.' 

The young man shook his head. 

' Consider. When the attack seized you, it would neces- 
sarily spend itself in vain, because there would be nothing 
to gratify and feed the craving. The second attack would 
be shorter, and would entail less suffering. So with the 
third.' 

' Doctor, it would be of no use. There would certainly 
be drink somewhere on board, and I should get it.' 

' Again, consider the plan. You are rich. You can afford 
to have a guardian or keeper. I will find you a young 
medical man who would never leave you ' 

' Doctor !' The young man sprang to his feet with the 
appearance of tremendous resolution. ' I tell you what I 
will do. This will be ever so much better than going as a 
guarded passenger — a mark of scorn and contempt. I am 
rich. I will hire or buy a boat for myself, and I will sail 



or THE PHYSICIAS iSO 

round the world. Not a drop of drink of any kind shall be 
put on board that boat. I will take your young medico 
with me. I will only land between the attacks when I can 
safely venture. Will that satisfy you ?' 

' Clearly, if there is no drink to be had, it will be of no 
use craving for it. Well — and you will give over craving 
for it, if you really and honestly carry out this plan.' 

' Eeally and honestly, I will. I swear I will, whatever 
it costs me !' 

' Very good indeed. Nothing could be better. Meantime, 
leave that man of yours at home.' 

' I can hardly do that. Mavis is necessary to me. He 
knows exactly what I want— apart, I mean, from the times 
of ' 

' Well, if, as I say, you are strong enough to insist on 
there being no drink on board the ship at all ' 

' I am strong enough for that, at any rate — when the 
time comes. Doctor, you must let that young medical man 
be strong, mind — strong. For I shall have the strength of 
a madman !' 

' He shall be,' said the Physician, ' as strong as Nature 
and athletics can make him. But be resolute : let nothing 
enter the ship, neither spirits, nor wine, nor beer.' 

' Ulysses stuffed the ears of the sailors,' said the young 
man tlioughtfully, ' with wax, so that they should not hear 
the song of the Sirens ; and then the sailors tied Ulysses 
to the mast — so that he heard, but could not obey. If they 
will tie me with iron chains to the main-mast — nothing short 
of iron chains will do ' 

' But there will be no drink on board. Remember that 
the songs of the Sirens will be only a mockery to you. They 
may invite you to drink, but they will give you nothing to 
drink.' 

' You don't know this Devil of mine. He is sure to bring 
some on board ; and if it is there, I must get it somehow. 
Eemember, Doctor, my guardian must never leave me alone. 
He must bind me and tie me down on deck, and set watch 
over me day and night. He must not trust anyone, mind 
— no one — not the captain, whoever he may be, nor the 
steward, nor my own man, even. He must never cease 
watching.' 

' I will "ive him the strictest instructions. You are right 



I90 THE DEMONIAC 

to mistrust yourself. Wheu will your preparations be com- 
pleted?' 

' I don't know. I dare say it will prove of no use,' he 
said despondingly. ' However, it shall be tried. Mavis, 
my man, shall set to work at once. Doctor, I will really 
try your experiment ; but I doubt — I doubt. You don't 
know this Devil of mine. He is the most crafty, the most 
subtle, the most determined Devil you ever heard of.' 

He laughed, but not mirthfully. 

' He has got to do with a man who has lost his nerve and 
his will,' said the Physician. 

' Find me the nerve and the will of somebody else, then, 
But I doubt — I doubt. My Devil is too cunning.' 



CHAPTER V. 

OF THE VOYAGE. 

George went home. The more he thought of this pro- 
jected voyage, the more it pleased his imagination. Where 
there was no drink to be had, there could be no craving. 
It would be senseless to crave for the unattainable : as well 
long for the luxuries of the Club from the day-room of a 
workhouse. 

First, however, he would make that confession to Elinor, 
She should no longer continue to think that he had deli- 
berately set himself to wound and pain her into sending 
him away. 

He therefore sat down and wrote : 

' My dear Nellie, 

* You told me on Monday to return to you when I 
could go back in the guise and semblance of your old friend. 
I denied, at the time, your charge that something must 
have happened. I will now tell you plainly what has 
happened. I have become, in the short space of four 
months, one of those unhappy men whom I was wont to 
despise, called confirmed drunkards ! I kept from you all 
the summer, hoping that the habit would pass away. It 
has not passed away. It is, on the contrary, stronger than 
ever, and now I believe that I shall be a slave for life. If 



OF THE VOYAGE 191 

it is any excuse, I miglit plead that the vice is hereditary; 
but the Physician whom I have consulted will not allow 
that this is an excuse. The real fault is my own disgrace- 
ful cowardice. I went to you the other day resolved upon 
telling you the exact truth — I could not. Therefore I in- 
sulted and pained you beyond endurance. You said that 
you would continue to regard yourself as engaged to me 
until I gave you I'elease. Take your release. You are free. 
Forget me as soon as you can. And do not blame mo more 
than you can help. 

' I am going to try the effect of a long voyage. If that 
succeeds — which I doubt — I will visit you on my return as 
an old friend, no longer a lover. If it does not succeed, I 
shall never write to you or try to see you again. 

' George Humphrey Atheling.' 

lie wrote this letter, folded it, stamped it, and left it on 
his table to be posted. Finding it there two or three hours 
later, and remembering that his servant was gone out and 
might be out all day, he dropped it into the breast-pocket of 
an overcoat. Then he forgot it. This is an accident which 
has happened unto many. 

There it lay, in fact, while the writer of it was travelling 
round about the world, and for long afterwards, all unre- 
garded and forgotten. 

So that poor Elinor never got her release at all. 

This done, he opened his biggest atlas at the map of the 
world — nothing less than that would do — and began to con- 
sider the course he should steer. There is still something 
exciting about a voyage round the world, though so many 
undertake it every year, and seem to think so little of it. It 
no longer takes the old-fashioned three years to accomplish 
the task. It may be done, I believe, in seventy days, at the 
rate of three hundred and forty-two and six-sevenths miles 
a day. But in a yacht of your own whicli need not race 
from point to point, you may still spend a good deal of time 
in going round the world. It would cost him a great deal, 
no doubt: yet, if the object was gained. . . . No drink to 
be got on board the ship. Splendid ! Like going into action 
with your colours nailed to the mast : or like defending a 
beleagured city without so much as a white pocket-handker- 
chief to fly. 



192 THE DEMOXIAC 

What kind of ship should he want ? A sailing yacht for 
choice. But one would not wish to be becalmed in the 
doldrums, or to be cast away on a lee shore. An auxiliary 
screw, that was the thing. And when he had got a ship, he 
must find a Master to navigate her. How does one look for 
Masters? It is a very important thing to find a good 
Master. He must be a capable person, skilled in his calhng, 
accustomed to command men : a sober man himself, even a 
total abstainer, a man of good temper, a genial man, cheer- 
ful and jocund, able to tell a good story. It would be very 
difficult to find such a Master. Then there was the crew. 
Where does one gather a crew ? This must be a picked 
crew. Great care must be taken in finding such a crew. 
Again, the provisions for so long a voyage. No strong 
drink, of course ; but every other kind of provision. There 
must be immense quantities of provisions for so long a 
voyage. Who thinks of everything? Would the ship hold 
all that he wanted for so long a voyage? One might as 
well go to the Army and Navy Stores, and order eii bloc 
everything they have got in stock. Except the drink, of 
course. No drink on board this ship. No drink. Cer- 
tainly, no drink at all. 

While he was thinking of these things, his servant, Mavis, 
the ex-gyp, opened the door softly and came in. 

' I beg your pardon, sir,' he said, standing beside his 
master : ' may I ask what the Doctor said ?' 

' Oh ! is that you. Mavis? I did not hear you come in. 
Yes. The Doctor says that the only way out of it, is to 
fight the Thing.'" 

Mavis coughed slightly, and the ghost of a smile played 
upon his lips. 

' To fight the Thing, Mavis !' George repeated resolutely. 

' Very good, sir,' said Mavis. 

' As for giving in at once, making off to your infernal 
cottage, surrendering without the firing of a shot, hauling 
down your colours — he's dead against it. Eank cowardice, 
that is.' 

' Yes, sir.' 

Mavis smiled again. 

' There are two ways open to me, he says : I may go into 
a Home, which is always dangerous, because people may be 
bribed. I believe you would even climb upon the roof and 



OF THE VUYAGi: 193 

lower the bottles down the chimney, if you knew I was in 
trouble.' 

' I would, sir,' said Mavis loyally. 

' Or I might go for a long voyage on board a ship where 
there was no drink — not a drop of drink on board.' 

* Then you would be quite safe, sir ' 

' Quite safe. ' 

' — To go mad or throw yourself overboard.' 

' Not at all. Mavis. I am going to take with me a young 
medical man — a strapping big fellow — to look after me. 
After the lirst attack is met, there will be less trouble, you 
see, with the second, still less with the third, and so on to 
the end.' 

' Very good, sir,' said Mavis. 

' Yes ; I have made up my mind. 1 will hire a steam 
yacht big enough for the voyage, and I will sail all around 
the world — without one single drop of drink on board. You 
understand that, Mavis?' 

' Yes, sir. Without one drop of drink on board.' 

' If that won't set me right again, nothing will.' 

' Nothing will,' echoed his servant. 

'Very good, then. Do you go at once — as soon as you 
can — let us lose no time — to the shop where they keep ships 
on sale or hire. I suppose it is somewhere down the river. 
Find me one. Get a good one while you are about it. 
Cheaper, I should say, to hire than to buy ; and less on our 
minds in case of her capsizing or foundering on the ocean.' 

' Very good, sir. I will go this very morning.' 

' Find out what the ship will cost, and — and — all about 
her. Be careful about her age. I know how to tell the age 
of a horse ; but as for that of a ship, I can't advise. Take 
counsel. She must be big enough to cross the Atlantic — in 
fact, to sail all round this earthly ball. You will then find 
out other shops where they keep captains, stewards, ships' 
crews, and so forth, and learn how much it will take to 
engage them. You will next find out how much it will cost 
to victual the ship, and who undertakes this kind of busi- 
ness. But mind, Captain and crew must be all temperance 
men : there is not to be one single drop of drink, mind — not 
one single drop of drink put on board on any pretext what- 
ever. You yourself have got to be a total abstainer for the 
whole voyage.' 

13 



194 



THE DEMONIAC 



' I understand, sir. No drink. Are we likely,' he asked 
quietly, but his master understood, ' ever to be far from the 
nearest port where they sell drink — in case ' 

' We may be weeks from such a port.' 

' Oh !' said Mavis, smiling unseen by his master. 

' No drink on board,' George repeated. ' We are going on 
a temperance voyage. Nobody on board is to have any 
drink at all. Coifee instead of rum — no drink !' 

Somehow, the force of his order seemed weakened by its 
repetition. 

' Very good, sir,' said Mavis. ' As you please to direct. 
I beg your pardon, sir,' he added ; ' but — if there is to be 
no drink— single-handed, I could not ' 

' Didn't I tell you there will be a strong young medical 
man on board ? Samson is his name. Long-haired Samson 
— Samson Armstrong, M.D. Single-handed, of course you 
could not tackle the case. I say, there will be a devil of a 
jBght when the time comes. Mavis !' 

' I expect there will, sir.' 

' Between us we shall iloor the Devil. Once he is floored 
— well, he is floored, I believe.' 

He rubbed his hands hopefully. 

' Yes, sir, so I believe,' said Mavis. ' Once floored- ' 

' As he' must be when there is no drink. Hark ye, Mavis ! 
There is to be a determined effort. I've got to cure myself 
now or never. Bring me home with a good record, and I 
will give you two hundred pounds. Make a note of that. 
Two hundred pounds ! It shall be worth your while to 
make the job complete.' 

* Thank you, sir,' said the man. ' I will do my best to 
make the job complete.' As he was unseen by his master, 
he grinned. ' Make it complete once for all,' he repeated. 

He went out, and on the stairs he grinned again. ' Com- 
plete ?' he repeated. ' If he is a servant now, he will be a 
slave before he comes back. Complete ? Yes ; I warrant 
the completeness of this job.' 

Mavis was really a most excellent servant. There was 
nothing which he could not be trusted to carry through. He 
disappeared daily for a certain period of time ; and in due 
course informed his master that he had arranged every- 
thing, subject to his approval. There was a lovely little 
steamer capable of riding through any conceivable seas, 



OF THE VOYAGE 195 

almost uew, proved, completely provided, and ready to take 
in coal at ouce. She was of 7U0 tons, and had already made 
two voyages. 

George went down to Gravesend, where she was lying. 
On board he found the master mariner whom Mavis pro- 
posed to engage as Captain. A weather-beaten old salt he 
was, with a grizzled beard, a clear blue eye, and a face of 
the most resolute honesty that one had ever seen. His 
credentials were admirable : he had sailed over every sea, 
and knew every port : he was fifty-five years of age, and 
had been a sailor since he was ten. 

' I understand, sir,' said this excellent old sea-rover, 
that you mean this to be a temperance ship.' 

' I mean more than that. I mean that it is to be a 
ship without such a thing as a bottle of drink of any kind on 
board.' 

' Very good, sir. So Mr. Mavis told me. As for shipping 
the drink, that's the steward's business. Mine is not to let 
the crew have any. For my part,' he said, looking more 
honest than words can express, ' I don't know the taste of 
rum, whisky, gin, nor beer — strong drink never passed these 
lips yet.' 

'Indeed!' said George. 'Then, in that respect, you are 
the very man I want.' 

Down below he found, waiting for him, the man whom 
Mavis proposed to engage as Head Steward, who would be 
Purser as well as responsible for all the ship's stores and 
provisions. 

This officer had served in the Orient Line. Ill-health 
alone had caused him to leave this service. He, too, had 
the best of credentials. His manner was soft and sleek, 
rather like that of Mavis. 

' A temperance voyage, I learn, sir,' he said. ' I've been 
a temperance man myself — a Good Templar — for twenty- 
five years. The crew won't expect any drink. As for your- 
self and your friends ' 

' We are all going to be total abstainers. This is to be 
the first condition of engagement.' 

' Very good, sir. Not a drop of drink shall come on board, 
except by your orders.' 

All this was very satisfactory. George examined the 
cabins and the saloon, and went down into the engine-room. 



196 THE DEMONIAC 

Everything was spick aud span, uevvly painted and fitted. 
The Captain laid out some charts on the table. They were 
going, he said, to sail on a most lovely voyage. Total 
abstinence the whole time — a thing he put as the first con- 
dition of loveliness. Next, for the course of the ship : he 
proposed to make for the Azores, St. Helena, and the Cape; 
after that, for Mauritius, Point de Galles, Singapore, and 
Hong Kong. After that, the Pacific Islands would occupy 
them a whole year, if the Chief chose, and so on, and so on. 
Nothing so eloquent as the fat forefinger of a skipper 
travelling slowly across a great chart, pointing to unknown 
lands and strange places. 

As this forefinger showed the way, George, in imagination, 
saw himself free of his burden : there could be no craving 
where there was no drink to be procured : it w^ould be a 
short fever quickly spent. He engaged the Skipper ; he 
engaged the Head Steward : he authorized the engagement 
of a temperance crew, and the victualling of the ship for a 
temperance voyage. 

Next for the medical man. The Physician was better 
than his w'ord. 

' I have sent you,' he said, ' two instead of one. This is 
because of your doubt — which has also made me doubt. 
Perhaps there may be drink on board, after all. In that 
case it will require at least two men to keep you from it, 
because you are so big and strong. I therefore send two 
young fellows, highly recommended. I advise you to take 
them both.' 

George engaged them on the spot. They were two young 
giants, each as big as himself, capable between them of 
fighting their patient and his devil combined. He found 
that they understood exactly what was wanted. They were 
not to put any trust in the giving of an order, but to look to 
its execution : to watch that no drink, if they could prevent 
it, was brought on board : and to take care that, in any case, 
none was exhibited in the presence of the Chief. Especially, 
they were to be on watch when the ship was in port. 

In fact, they were zealous, intelligent young men : they 
understood that this was a case involving important scientific 
issues : they saw that distinction, pleasure, and profit might 
all be derived from the voyage, and they embarked with 
light hearts. 



OF THE VOYAGE I97 

Finally, one fine morning in the month of November, the 
steamer GoofZ Intent dropped down-stream off Gravesend, 
bound for all round the world. On board tliat ship was a 
man afflicted with a disease which no medicine can touch : 
he was to bo cured by the absence of the thing that feeds 
the disease and that the disease constantly craves. 

About a year and a half after the despatch of this inter- 
esting scientific voyage two bronzed and weather-beaten 
young men called upon the learned Physician. They were 
both big and strong men, good-looking, too, but their faces 
were overcast. A cloud, as of anxiety, sat upon them. 

' You have no doubt forgotten us,' said one of them. ' We 
are the two men you sent from St. George's to attend Mr. 
Atheling on his voyage.' 

< Yes — yes — I remember now. And how are you ? And 
how did you get on ?' 

' We ai-e very well, and got on very well.' 

' It was a voyage which promised to be very interesting." 

' It has been deeply interesting,' replied the first speaker. 

' Scientifically, of the highest importance,' said the other 
young man. 

' Ah ! I am glad to hear it. First, was it successful? I 
have often thought about the case— obstinate— hereditary- 
treacherous — most difticult.' 

' From your point of view — no.' 

' From ours,' said the other young man, ' most successful. 
Most important.' 

' Where is your patient ? And is he cured ?' 

' He is at liis own chambers. And at this moment he is 
drunk.' 

' Drunk ? Then — but you will explain.' 

' Willingly. He is drunk now with whisky. On board 
he got drunk in the absence of whisky.' 

' Which leads us to our great discovery,' said the second 
young man. 

' I dare say I shall understand presently,' said the Phy- 
sician, ramming his hands into his pockets. 

' We went out charged specially to keep him from drmk, 
and to watch him whenever he had an attack.' 

' You did. You were entrusted with a very important 
mission. You had a great chance before you. Here was a 



198 THE DEMONIAC 

man liable to attacks of craving for strong drink, put on 
board a ship where there was not a drop of strong drink-- 
and you were to watch over him, treat him as I suggested, 
and guard him day and night.' 

' We were,' said the first young man. 

' We carried out our duty to the letter,' said the second 
young man. ' Hence our great discovery, which will revo- 
lutionize ' 

'Pray go on,' said the Physician, turning to the other 
man. 

' Until the first attack came on, and, indeed, between the 
attacks, our patient wanted no watching because he had no 
desire for drink at all. A better companion — a better fellow 
never lived. Then the first attack came.' 

' Ha ! The first attack.' 

' His man knew the symptoms, and warned us of what 
was coming. He himself warned us. We had ample time 
for preparation,' 

' Very good. What did you do ? Watched him closely?' 

' Yes. But first we searched him, at his own request. 
He was most anxious that we should be thoroughly satisfied. 
We searched his cabin : examined every corner of his cabin- 
trunk : we looked into his berth and under the berth and on 
the shelves. There was not so much as a bottle of eau-de- 
Cologne. He had secreted nothing. And there was no 
drink on board the ship at all. We had the cabin on either 
side of him, and the Captain and his own man and the 
steward had the three cabins opposite. I should like you to 
understand exactly, otherwise you would never believe what 
we have got to tell next.' 

' Go on ! The voyage was a failure,' the Physician 
groaned. ' You have told me that. You are now going to 
make excuses,' said the Physician gloomily. 

' At sunset on the day of the first attack, Mr. Atheling 
went into his cabin. We sat outside the open door. His 
man, Mavis, went in and made some simple arrangements. 
Then he came out. The door was locked. We watched 
outside.' 

' Fools ! You should have watched inside. I know now 
what you are going to tell me.' 

' We had proved that he had no drink in the cabin : we 
were certain that there was none on board the ship. What 



OF rili: VOYAGE 199 

was the use? We might just as well, if that was all, have 
watched the case from the masthead.' 

' 111 the moruiug he was drunk. You are going to tell me 
that!' 

' In the morning he presented every appearance of intoxi- 
cation. He could not he drunk, because there was no drink 
for liini to get at.' 

' He was as drunk as David's sow, I suppose.' 

' Well, he looked it. What is more remarkable, he con- 
tinued drunk for three days and more. We went in and 
out of the cabin all day : there was no drink in it. I repeat,' 
the young medico said earnestly, ' there could have been no 
drink in his cabin, just as there was none on the ship at all. 
None. Yet he presented every symptom of intoxication.' 

' More,' said the other, ' his cabin smelt of whisky. Until 
we arrived at our great discovery, it was the most mysterious 
—the most unaccountable thing ever heard of. No one 
would have believed it.' 

' Good Lord ! What FOOLS !' said the Physician heart- 
lessly. 

' We may be fools,' replied the tirst young man. ' i3u; 
we can at least show that we carried out our mission ; and 
if it failed ' 

' It was because there exists a Force which nobody has 
discovered before ourselves,' said the second young man - 
' the discovery of which will make this voyage as memorable 
as that of the Beagle.' 

' Good Lord !' repeated the Physician. 

'There was no drink on board,' repeated the ship's 
Doctor. 

' Eubbish !' said the Physician. 

' There certainly was not. Of that we assured ourselves. 
The Captain swore that there was none : we searched his 
cabin. The steward assured us there was none : we searched 
his cabin. There was the official book of ship's stores to 
show that there was no drink on board.' 

' Ha !' said the Physician, incredulous. This interjection 
may be made to exhibit a vast amount of suspicion. 

'You do not believe. Well, we cannot help that. We 
had the assurance of Mr. Atheling's man, Mavis.' 

' I remember. The faithful retainer w^ho always found 
the drink. An excellent and most trustworthy witness !' 



200 THE DEMONIAC 

' At any rate, the poor man was in despair. His master 
had given him a promise, in writing, of two hundred pounds 
if the voyage should be carried out without his having any 
access to drink. So that he lost the money — a very con- 
siderable sum to lose !' 

' I begin to understand,' said the Physician. ' Pray go 
on, gentlemen. Your behaviour has shown the highest 
intelligence. When the conjurer directs your eyes to the 
ceihng, you obey : while you are looking away, he does the 
trick. Wonderful !' 

' No. In this case there was no juggling possible. The 
cabin-door was unlocked : we went in and out all day long. 
We never saw him drinking. Yet he presented every 
appearance of a man drinking himself almost into a coma- 
tose condition. He lay in his berth all the time : he was 
never quite stupefied : sometimes he recovered partially ; 
sat up and began to sing : his eyes followed us with a kind 
of suspicion.' 

' No doubt,' said the Physician. 

' We were compelled, in short, to believe that we have 
discovered a new phenomenon — symptoms never before 
observed in such cases.' 

' Eeally !' 

' Observe, first, that on the fourth day Mr. Atheling 
came out of his cabin completely himself again. The sea 
air soon restored his shaken nerves. He became again the 
delightful companion, and he wanted no stimulant. Six 
weeks later another attack. Again the warnings, again the 
same precautions, again the same symptoms.' The young 
medicine-man looked at this point preteruaturally solemn. 
His companion endeavoured, but with less success, to 
assume the same solemnity. ' In fact, after making notes 
and comparing our observations, we have drawn up a paper 
on the subject. It embodies the facts and contains our 
Theory.' 

' Our joint Theory,' said his friend. 

' Our joint Theory. We propose sending it to the Lancet. 
It is called the Unconscious Simulation of Alcoholic 
Symptoms.' 
' Ho ! ho !' laughed the Physician. 
The young men looked disconcerted. 

' Allow me,' said the speaker, ' We account for the 
phenomena by an Association of ideas, similar to those 



OF THE VOYAGE 201 

which have produced the Uke results in the stories of 
mediiDval saints.' 

' Ha ! ha !' The Physician laughed again. 

' x\llo\v us at least to finish. As there was no whisky to 
be procured, memory conjured up an exact reproduction in 
the mind of the processes which had previously ' 

' Made him as drunk a ; David's sow,' said the Physician. 
' Well, gentlemen, you will do what you please about your 
scieutihc paper on the Simulation of Alcohohc Symptoms. 
If you pubhsh that paper, I shall have to call attention to 
the fact that you were sent out to watch this case, and that 
you allowed the patient to pass the nights, unwatched and 
alone, in his own cabin. That is all. Have you anything 
more to report to me '?' 

' Nothing more,' said the chief speaker, abashed. 

' Except,' said the other, ' that we have had the most 
delightful voyage. Of course, but for this trouble.' 

' I dare say,' said the Physician coldly. ' You were not, 
however, sent to enjoy a delightful voyage, so much as to 
conduct an experiment in the interests of science. And you 
have failed. You have been tricked and duped.' 

It is the most fatal thing for a young man to fail in the 
tirst mission entrusted to him : no matter that he is not to 
blame— he is blamed : he never gets another mission. As 
for these two young gentlemen, who had made such a re- 
sponsible start, they got no more chances because they had 
failed. Their' scientific paper, which was to have made 
their fortune, on the Unconscious Simulation of Alcohohc 
Symptoms, never appeared. They parted company. One 
of them is now a General Practitioner in the neighbourhood 
of Tooley Street, Borough : he receives sixpence for every 
consultation, and has to give a bottle of medicine with his 
advice : he does pretty well, and has sometimes taken 
thirty or forty sixpences in a day : he is married : but he 
feels that even these blessings fall short of what might 
have come to him had that scientific paper been published. 
And he still watches for new illustrations of this strange 
and morbid trick of memory. The other is doctor on board 
a steamer which voyages up and down among the South 
Sea Islands, carrying passengers and picking up sea-slugs. 
And even he is not completely happy. He now regrets that 
they watched outside the door. Experience has taught him 
the crafty ways of the toper ! 



202 THE DEMONIAC 

CHAPTER VI. 

HOW THE PATIENT RETURNED. 

A FEW days later the subject of this valuable scientific 
paper presented himself in person to the Physician. 

' Humph !' he growled. ' So you've come back from your 
voyage.' 

' As you see,' George replied, with an assumption of ease. 
But he had something of the appearance of the schoolboy 
who cannot conceal or deny the fact. ' I've come to report 
myself.' 

' Very well. You need not trouble to report yourself, 
because I know already what you are going to say.' 

' Well, I am come to say that, as I expected all along, 
the Devil proved too cunning.' 

' And his victim too cowardly. Well, go on. You had 
an excellent chance of curing yourself of a shameful and 
insidious practice, and you have failed. And science has 
lost the record of an interesting case. You have failed. 
As for laying it on the back of the Devil ' 

' Anyhow, Doctor, the voyage was a failure.' 

' I know that already — a ridiculous failure. After the first 
month you ought to have come home again, for all the good 
it has done. You have had the pleasure of throwing away 
a good many thousands of pounds, and you are none the 
better for it ; but, I am glad to tell you after such a result, 
very much the worse.' 

' No ; not worse. I think I am really better. Because, 
you see, now that I have made up my mind to the worst, I 
am no longer troubled about resistance. I am resigned. I 
accept the inevitable. I am not so unhappy about things 
as I was. Better, Doctor, not worse. Much better !' 

' Humph ! You are looking in very good health, at any 
rate. Confound you !' 

' I am perfectly well. That is the strange thing, con- 
sidering what I go through every two months. It has now 
become a recurring attack at settled periods of two months. 
Well, it seems to produce no bad effects upon me at all.' 

His face had become broader and somewhat coarser. 



HOW THE P ATI EXT RETURNED 303 

Some of the finer intellectual beauty had dropped out : one 
cannot very well enjoy such periodical experiences and live 
such a life, and preserve, altogether, the spiritual look : but 
it was a handsome face still. Not in the least the face of 
an habitual drunkard. And always a good-tempered and 
kindly face. 

' I know all about it,' said the Physician. ' You need not 
trouble to tell me. After a few weeks at sea the first attack 
came. Your medical men — the intelligent pair who were to 
keep you and watch you night and day — searched the cabin 
and yourself for drink. They found none. They left you 
alone all night — alone in the cabin — no suspicion of the 
craft and subtlety of what you call the Devil ! In the 
morning you presented every appearance of one heavily 
intoxicated. You were comatose with whisky.' 

'That is true.' George smiled gravely. 'That is quite 
true.' 

' At every recurring attack the same appearances were 
observed, after the same elaborate precautions had been 
observed.' 

' They were. The two young doctors have written an 
Essay on my ease,' he laughed. ' They call it a case of 
Associated Alcoholism, or the Simulation ' 

' I know, I know.' 

' I perceive that they have called upon you. Well, you 
know, they are capital fellows : they play a good rubber, 
sing a good song, handle their singlesticks cleverly, and put 
on the gloves with good temper. They were never dull, and 
only melancholy at the first go off, when the Simulation, 
you know, began. They were unhappy then. Not a drop 
of drink in the whole ship, and yet there I was — in the 
cabin. They searched the ship as energetically as the 
young man from the country searches the stage at Maskelyne 
and Cook's.' 

' Yes,' said the Physician. ' So I suppose. Pray, sir, 
may a plain man, who is no conjurer, inquire how this 
stupendous miracle — this conversion of water into whisky- 
was accomplished?' 

' I told you that the Devil would be too cunning. Well, 
now, Mavis, my servant ' 

' Oh yes, I remembei' — Mavis, your servant. Ah ! he is 
the Devil, then ?' 



204 THE DEMONIAC 

' I sometin es think he is. Well, hke all great conjuring 
tricks, it was really quite simple. When I told Mavis to 
get a Captain, I was not aware that he had cousins in the 
seafaring line. Luckily for me, he had. One of these was 
a Captain — a very good Captain too, though he had lost 
every situation, one after the other, through his habits of 
drink. This I did not find out until afterwards. Otherwise, 
the best of Captains. He pretended to be wholly un- 
acquainted even with the taste of spirits — a Kechabite from 
his youth upwards.' 

' That was an excellent beginning !' 

' Truly. Then there was the Steward. He too, as after- 
wards appeared, was a cousin, and had got into trouble on 
the Orient Line in connection with the Bottle Department. 
He, too, professed total abstinence — said that he abhorred 
even the appearance of alcohol. Well, you see, with those 
two on board and Mavis, who I ought to have known cannot 
live without his beer and his grog, it was pretty certain that 
there would be always something on board. In fact, they 
had enough on board, to sink the ship, but they kept the 
thing dark. At dinner and at luncheon we had apol- 
linaris.' 

' Yes. And how did this admirable servant convey the 
drink to your cabin ?' 

' By a little contrivance. And it shows what a man of 
resource my servant is. He knew what would happen very 
well, and he provided accordingly. So that when it did 
come, and that with a rush, and hardly any warning, so 
that I verily thought it was going to kill me outright, there 
it was all ready for me. " Mavis," I said, " get me the 
whisky and I'll give you four hundred." You see, I had 
promised him two hundred if he brought me home with a 
sober record.' 

' Good. Mavis was a far-seeing servant.' 

' So he whispered what I was to do. Then your two 
doctors searched the cabin and my pockets. They left not a 
corner : they took out the mattresses and the pillows and 
the cushions. When they were quite sure that there was 
nothing for me, they allowed me to go in, and left me to 
wrestle it out.' 

' Left you. Fools !' 

' To wrestle it out, they said. Then they sat down and 



HOW THE PATIENT RETURNED aoj 

watched outside the door. They watched all night. Jiut 
the moment they were out of the cabin I unscrewed a cer- 
tain ornamental knob and drew^ out of it a tube with a 
mouthpiece ; and the tube, Doctor, was connected with a 
cask of whisky. Now do you understand the subtlety of the 
Devil?' 

' I do. I thoroughly understand it. ' 

'As for Mavis, he earned that money. I had a charming 
voyage, varied by several little episodes of that descrip- 
tion. We were all pleased, especially the two men of 
science.' 

'That is all you have to tell me, I suppose,' said the 
Physician coldly. 

' That is all. I have given up the idea of trying to resist 
any more. If I cannot be cured except by my own resist- 
ance, I can never be cured at all.' 

' No ; you are now beyond hope. Well, Mr. Atheling, it 
is a thousand pities to see a splendid man ruined. Shall I 
read your future ?' 
' If you can. Doctor.' 

' Your will has now grown so weak that you cannot resist : 
you shrink with terror from the mere idea of resistance : the 
attack, which is a kind of spasmodic action, and should be 
met and defeated by resolute refusal to yield, is now magni- 
fied, in your imagination, into a terrible, monstrous, power- 
ful Devil, to whom you surrender basely and cowardly 
without a blow. Well, you will go on in this miserable 
weakness, growing slowly or swiftly, as the case may be, 
worse and worse, as a rudderless ship drifts slowly or 
rapidly on a lee shore. The attacks will become more 
frequent and more violent — perhaps both . You will gradually 
lose the only thing which now protects you — that small 
amount of self-respect which makes you hide yourself and 
your vice when it overtakes you. Presently you will cease 
to care whether your friends know about it or not. You 
will no longer have the desire to preserve a good name. All 
the time your mind will be deteriorating as your will 
weakens. Eemember that on his strength and will depends 
the whole life of a man. Your judgment in business affairs 
will be impaired. All your finer quahties— they have 
already suffered loss— will be destroyed: your learnmg, 
your skill, your art, your genius, your eye, your taste— all 



2o6 THE DEMONIAC 

will go. In course of time you will become, if you live, an 
open, acknowledged, aud daily drunkard. You will live in 
this degraded and disgraced condition until, by mere lucky 
accident, you will take cold, get pneumonia, and so be 
kicked out of the world you have helped to make worse, into 
another, w'here you will receive the treatment due to you. 
As for your children, if you have any, you will have trans- 
mitted to them your inheritance, if it is an inheritance, of 
alcoholic craving doubled and trebled, with far less power 
of resistance than that with which you started. Not only 
are you a coward to yourself, but you are a criminal to your 
children.' 

The Doctor paused and snorted. 

George heard him without the least indignation, remon- 
strance, or surprise. 

' All these things,' he said quietly, ' I have said to myself 
over and over again. I have said them in agonies of reproach 
and shame. I say them no longer. I feel no longer any 
pangs of shame. As for what you prophesy concerning my 
children, I have made up my mind to have none.' 

' So you say now. Wait for a year or two. Wait till 
your loneliness becomes more than you can bear. Young 
gentleman, any weak creature may go and get married ; 
but it requires a far stronger man than you to remain un- 
married.' 

' I see before me, in place of the future you have drawn, 
a life of harmless obscurity. I have parted with my old 
ambitions, because they are no longer possible to attain. 
I have no career before me : I can attempt nothmg. When 
I die, the waves will close over me, and I shall be forgotten 
in a moment and regretted by no one. Six times in the 
year I shall go into retreat. In the intervals I shall be 
calm and contented. The craving will not grow upon me : 
it has not grown for two years : it does not come oftener 
than it did ' 

' Because you are young, and have still left some of the 
resources of your former life. You read — you walk — 
you think. Wait till you grow weary of life without an 
aim.' 

' If your prophecy, or half of it, even, were to come true, 
do you think that I should continue to live ?' 

' Why, man, with such a vice as yours, you would love 



HOW THE PATIENT RETURNED 7oj 

your life too well. Besides, your will would be too weak. 
You could no longer bear to face a violent death, even to 
escape the greatest shames possible to life. In your strong 
frame already beats the heart of a coward.' George laughed. 
' When I told you this once before, you winced : now you 
laugh. Observe the deterioration that has already set in. 
You laugh !' 

' If you like. I never think of the thing that way now. 
What would have been shameful and disgraceful two years 
ago, is now a part of my life — part of my life. I feel no 
more disgraced because I am afflicted with this incurable 
disease, than if I had rheumatism. It is all habit. I now 
understand how the worst criminal can entertain the most 
virtuous sentiments. I am resigned to the inevitable.' 

' One thing might save you : it is the only thing. For 
the sake of others — for some great personal attachment — 
for some great scare on their account — you might make the 
sacrifice of suffering. Or you might make the sacrifice of 
death. For your own sake — never !' 

' Then I shall never make either sacrifice. I am, as you 
say, too great a coward. And I can never again care greatly 
for any human creature.' 

George went away. He had expected no help from the 
Physician, and he got none. He was like one who sees 
Heaven — all glorious and blissful and eternal — before him, 
but fears to pass through the fire of purgatory which lasts 
but a little while. Many such souls there must be waiting 
on the bank, cowering at the sight of the cleansing flame. 
Yet he knew that he was getting worse : his pui-poseless 
life, as well as his surrender, was dragging him down. But 
he had formed a resolution : he would work. At least, he 
would have some object to live for, if it were only to earn 
his daily bread. 

' Mavis,' he said that evening, ' I have seen my old Doctor 
again. 1 told him that the Devil has proved more cunning 
than he thought. He isn't acquainted with the Devil, that 
Doctor.' 

' No, sir.' 

' He thinks he is, but he is not. The Doctor doesn't 
seem best pleased with the result of the voyage. He ex- 
pected better things. Well, we did promise a different 



2o8 THE DEMONIAC 

endiag, didn't we? We did start with the intention of com- 
pleting the job?' 

' We did, sir,' said Mavis. 

' And we have completed it, though not exactly in the 
way we intended.' 

' Come, sir; after all, it don't do you any harm. Even 
the Doctor can't say but what you look as well and as 
vigorous as ever. Lately, too, they haven't come quite so 
strong, have they ?' 

' Well, I don't know about that.' 

' A drunk now and again : an honest drunk, and have 
done with it,' said Mavis. ' What harm can that do any 
man? Why, that's the way the sailors live. They couldn't 
keep it up if it wasn't for the looking forward. Think of 
the gentlemen drinking their champagne every day ! Why, 
it's far worse. As for you, sir, a more temperate and sober 
gentleman don't live. You ought to take a pride in your- 
self, for your moderation. What is it ? A couple of bottles 
of whisky once in two months. Spread it out — a quarter 
of a bottle in a week — why, it's nothing !' 

This was the longest speech Mavis had ever made. 

' Very good. Mavis,' said his master. ' I will seek con- 
solation in that reflection. Meantime, I am going to make 
a change. You shall have the cottage to live in. I shall 
go and live in some part of London where I am not known. 
I will let you know where, so that you may be on the spot 
when ' 

' Very well, sir,' said Mavis. 

' I have made up my mind to start afresh in a new place, 
and on a new plan. I shall take another name. I shall 
go and live a great deal lower down in the world. I shall 
no longer call myself a gentleman. I shall not be a man 
of fortune, but one who works for his daily bread. Perhaps 
my new companions will forgive any little eccentricities of 
conduct, if they do discover things. On the point of personal 
dignity or self-respect they will probably be less exacting. 
So that if the Doctor's prophecy comes true — and I'm sure 
I don't know that it will not — they will not turn me out 
into the wide, wide world with ignominy. There may even 
be fellow-sufferers among them. Well, do you understand ?' 

' Perfectly, sir. Am I to find you a place and a com- 
panion ?' 



FJOW THE PATIENT RETURNED 209 

' No. This time, Mavis, 1 will look about for myself. 
You provided me once with a Captain and a Steward and 
a nice little workable knob, didn't you ? This time, I will 
find for myself what I want.' 

' What am I to do, sir ?' 

' You can go and live in the cottage. I will pay you the 
same wages. I will also pay the rent of the cottage and 
your own board. You can live anywhere else if you like ; 
but you must keep the cottage ready for me. Until I have 
learned the feelings of my new friends on the subject, I will 
keep on the cottage. Y^ou will call for me at the regular 
times, and carry me off and look after me as usual. Other- 
wise, I shall have no more work for you.' 

' Very well, sir.' 

'You will be an idle man; be a discreet man as well. 
Guard those secrets of mine. And when next you meet me, 
remember that you are not my servant, but an old acquaint- 
ance with whom I have business relations.' 

' Very well, sir,' said Mavis. 



CHAPTER VII. 

OF rENELOPE AND HER WOOERS. 

' Why will you still press me ?' asked the girl. ' I have 
answered your question already a dozen times.' 

' I press you,' replied the man, ' because your answer 
appears to me every day more and more unreasonable. 
Surely, the time has come at last for you to give me another 
kind of reply — if only another I'eason for ' 

' No, my friend ; I have only one answer. I am already, 
as you know, engaged. Therefore, I cannot listen to any 
talk on this subject, even from you — my old tutor.' 

' You are engaged to a man who has neither written to 
you, nor visited you, nor sent any kind of message to you, 
for five years.' 

' That is true. It is also true — and I must not forget it — 
that when last I saw him I assured him that I should wait 
for a release from his own lips. I have waited, and I still 
wait.' 

'He went away. He has sent you no message since that 

14 



2IO THE DEMONIAC 

time. You know that three or four years ago he drew money 
from his bank. Therefore, he was then ahve. But he sent 
you no letter or message. That shows that he thought you 
were free. Perhaps he is dead. To you, however, the 
question need not be raised. You are free.' 

' If rich men hke George die, their death is heard of by 
their heirs. 1 do not beheve that he is dead. Let hiiii, if 
he chooses, set me free.' 

' Then he has forgotten you. Good Heavens ! As if that 
were possible !' 

' In either case I must wait. If he is dead — until I know 
the fact. If he has forgotten me — until he tells me so him- 
self.' 

This conversation was only one of many turning upon the 
same point, the nature of which is sufficiently indicated. It 
was carried on in the library of a great house in South 
Kensington. The library was also the girl's study. It con- 
tained a good collection of books, and on the table was 
heaped the pile of papers, magazines, and books, with the 
inevitable waste-paper basket beside them, which denote 
the presence of the scholar or the writer. These two young 
people met each other as often as they possibly could : they 
walked together : they rode together : they argued on the 
things which most interested them ; and continually came 
back to the same question and the same answer, with a 
commentary on the latter furnished by the young man. 
For the girl was so constant to a forgetful lover as to remain 
faithful after five years of neglect and silence : and the 
young man was so persistent a suitor that he returned con- 
tinually to his question, and as continually remonstrated 
with the answer. 

The girl, you perceive, was Elinor Thanet, now three-and- 
twenty years of age. It seems old to those who are still 
eighteen ; but it is not regarded by those who are past three- 
and-twenty as a great age, even for a girl. And at three- 
aiid-twenty there is still the first sweet bloom upon the 
cheek, and there is still some of the first fresh spring of 
youth. 

When we last saw Elinor she was on the point of going 
to Cambridge, there to achieve the honour and glory of a 
First Class. She fulfilled the first part of the programme ; 
that is to say, she did go to Newnham. But as for the 



OF PENELOPE AXD HER WOOERS 211 

second part, that event did not come off. Perhaps the 
defection of her lover disheartened her : perhaps the intrica- 
cies of Latin prose worried her : perhaps she lost her ambi- 
tions : whatever the reason, she did not present herself at 
the Honours Examination. Her friends, however, said that 
she could have taken a First Class if she had pleased. 
Many thousands of pass men say the same thing of them- 
selves ; but their friends commonly accept the statement 
without zeal, even with frigidity. Few, indeed, have it said 
of them. So that Elinor retired from her University course 
with great and uncommon distinction. Not to take a First 
Class when you can have it for the trouble of asking for it, 
ai'gues a superiority that has never yet been found, even 
among the College Dons. The consciousness of this 
distinction was doubtless the reason w^hy Elinor, on re- 
turning to London, treated the common herd of admirers 
with so much disdain. Her own common herd was more 
numerous than that of many other girls, because she was 
going to be rich. Every picture, even the most beautiful, 
looks all the better for being richly framed. 

Elinor Thanet was also distinguished by a very remark- 
able circumstance. She was engaged, and her lover had 
disappeared. At this time no tidings had been heard of him 
for three years. She herself had heard nothing of him, or 
from him, for five years. But for three years he had drawn 
no money from his bank, and had made no communication 
with his lawyers. Yet he was a rich man, having an income 
of many thousand pounds a year, all of which lay accumu- 
lating — a great mass of unused wealth. And certain cousins 
who were greatly interested in his welfare were beginning 
to ask when the missing man should be considered dead. 

These circumstances — the First Class which had not been 
taken : the lover who was not to be found : and the fortune 
which would come to this young lady — made her a person 
of the greatest interest. As yet no one had succeeded in 
persuading her that her engagement had been broken off 
long ago. No other girl ever had so convenient a weapon of 
defence. Nay, of offence as well, because it could be used 
to drive away a persistent suitor as well as to ward off a first 
approach. 

The only man who was allowed to persist was John 
Carew, Professor of Political Economy in Gresham College, 



212 THE DEMONIAC 

sometime Lecturei' at Newnhara. The word 'sometime' 
sounds well, yet John Carew was at present only six-and- 
twenty. He was one of those who march to the front early. 
Many men there are — most men — who can never march to 
the front. Their place is in the ranks : they are too diffident 
as to their natural gifts and graces for any ambition at all : 
they are afraid of themselves : they cannot picture them- 
selves incurring vast responsibilities and exercising great 
authority. Not so such a man as John Carew. He strides 
straight up the hill. ' My place,' he says, ' is in the front 
row. Make way, if you please, for me.' After a bit they 
have got to make way and to put him there, when very 
likely he shows that he was right. 

Up to the present, as you have seen, John Carew has done 
very well, as well as can be expected by the age of twenty- 
six. He had no family interest or connections : he was the 
sou of one of those successful clergymen who get a newly- 
built district church in a suburb inhabited by clerks. His 
father had no money to spare : yet this fortunate youth 
received the best education that the country can give, pro- 
ceeded to the University, took the very best degree possible, 
became a Fellow ; and at twenty-six was Professor in a 
London College, with as great a reputation as one so young 
can well obtain, and with every promise of greater distinction 
to follow. All this magnificent success sprang out of a 
school scholarship, and it is the history of successful men by 
the hundred. 

John Carew, however, was not inclined to stop at a College 
Professorship. He meant to rule a larger class than gathered 
in his lecture-room. That he had no money was a hindrance. 
Fortune favoured him again, because she threw in his way 
a girl, beautiful and belonging to the world of society, and 
wealthy, with whom he allowed himself to fall in love. Had 
this girl not been wealthy, John Carew would not have 
allowed himself the luxury of love. Since she was wealthy, 
he loved her very dearly and sincerely. He meant, if he 
could, to marry her. He meant, by means of her wealth 
and position, to advance himself. A perfectly desirable girl 
from every point of view does not present herself to every 
young man ; and especially to a young man who makes it 
his aim to take no step ni life, especially not such a step as 
marriage, unless it be a step in advance, 



OF PENELOPE AND HER ]VOOERS 213 

John Carcw's face was irregularly good-looking, and bore 
the stamp of resolution and of courage. lie had the chiu 
and mouth of a man who meant to have his own way. He 
had the clear-cut nostrils, the straight eyebrows, the steady 
eyes, and the square forcliead of one whose mind was active, 
and happiest when working on things hard and tougli to the 
general multitude. It was the face, the head, and the figure 
of the fighting man. i\nd in these days when the world is 
looking in all directions for leaders, I really think that John 
Carew has as good a chance as anybody of showing what 
stuff there is in him. 

' Let us talk of something else, then.' He went to the 
table and took up a book. ' Tell me what you are working 
at.' 

' Another time. Something,' she said, ' has brought back 
the memory of my old lover — I know not what note has 
been struck. I seem to hear his voice and to see him stand- 
ing before me. I do not think there is anything, my friend, 
that I should wish for more than to see him again, and to 
hear from his own lips what he has done, why he went away, 
and why he has forgotten me altogether.' 

' You agree, then, that he must have forgotten you?' 

' Something happened to him — the nature of which I 
cannot so much as guess — something happened which altered 
not only the whole course of his life, but his very nature. 
AYhat can alter a man so much in three months ? Not any 
ill stroke of fortune : not ill-health : not any other law busi- 
ness — at least, that I ever heard of. What could it have 
been ?' 

' I do not know ; I cannot even guess.' 

' Consider ! He has gone away : he has left his great 
wealth untouched : he has not drawn any money for three 
years.' 

' He is probably dead.' 

' No ; I am certain tliat he is not dead. We should have 
heard of his death, somehow. Why did he go away ? What 
is the cause of his keeping away ? If it were love or mar- 
riage, he would still want his money.' 

* And you — if you were to meet him, how would you re- 
ceive him ?' 

' He would be always my brother — I have not a spark of 
any other feeling left for him. At one time it was different. 



214 THE DEMONIAC 

I was very fond of him, aud thought a great deal about him. 
He was in my thoughts nearly all day. That was because he 
was always with me, I suppose. We used to play together. I 
don't know even how we became engaged. No word was 
said, I know, but one day we met with a warmer pressure 
of the hand — and that was all. Poor dear boy ! He went 
out of my thoughts — Cambridge drove him out — aud he 
went out of my heart. I have long ceased to lament him, 
or to fancy that I love him ; and yet — yet — I want to hear 
from his own lips — and the last words that I said to him 
was a promise of constancy !' 

' A promise — yes ! but since for all these years you have 
heard nothing — whether he is dead or alive ; or if you heard 
that he was living three years ago, the fact that he never 
wrote a line shows that he considers you free long ago — long 
ago. Elinor, do not waste time over such a man any longer.' 

' Find him for me. Formerly ladies enjoined great tasks 
upon their knights ' 

' Will you call me your knight ?' 

' Yes.' She gave him her hand, which he kissed. ' But 
not, yet, anything more. This is my task which I lay upon 
you. Find that missing lover. Tell me where he is. It is 
really a very little world. Find out where he is and bring 
him to me, or me to him. If you wish to please me, find 
my faithless lover.' 

' If you had ordered me to slay a giant or a dragon, I 
should have complied contentedly. But for finding your old 
lover What is his name ?' 

' His name is Atheling.' 

• Atheling? I seem to have heard the name somewhere ; 
I don't remember at this moment. Atheling?' 

' He has a pleasant, musical voice, rather low. A clever 
man, with ideas. He started with the intention of being 
something great — Prime Minister. He was as ambitious as 
you.' 

' Am I ambitious ?' 

' You are nothing else, except that you are clever — much 
cleverer than George, who would not have got beyond Secre- 
tary for the Colonies. I believe the stupid man in the 
Cabinet is always put into that post.' 

' Well, I have his name. What shall I do next? I cannot 
search the wide world for him, because my lectures forbid 



OF PESELOPE AND HER WOOERS 215 

my absence. But I cau start inquiries. I believe that when 
a gentleman is wanted by the police they send round a 
description. But then the police know where such gentle- 
men as they want mostly resort, which is a great advantage 
to them. They don't know w^here such a man as your friend 
may be found.' 

' You are much more clever than any police.' 

' Let me rather slay a giant for you, Elinor. I would 
rather kill a dozen giants.' 

' Their death would bring me neither joy nor profit. Let 
the poor giants live, and find my poor old friend.' 

' It is such a wonderful thing — such a mysterious thing ! 
Why should the man go away ? Why should he keep away ? 
How does he live? He must be dead.' 

' A man doesn't die without somebody knowing about it. 
Death is a public thing, even for the meanest man. Every- 
body knows it. People find out what the man died of, who 
he is, and all about him. It is a thing which cannot be 
concealed any more than a birth.' 

' He may be in San Francisco — or in Hong Kong — or any- 
where you please !' 

' No ; he was a thorough Briton. He would never be 
comfortable except at home. He would never be happy 
unless he was living his old familiar life. Where he is living, 
and why, I cannot tell. Find him for me, my friend ; find 
him out !' 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

IN ARCADIA. 

Therk is a suburb — a district — of London, where those 
reside who have to court happiness on a hundred and fifty 
pounds — two hundred pounds — even three hundred pounds 
— a year. Not all those who enjoy incomes of such a figure 
live in this district, but few live here who are burdened with 
a larger income. It is a pleasant country : the roads in it 
are broad and planted with limes or planes : the houses are 
nearly all built after the same pattern, one of a kind which 
does not requii'e the pencil or the imagination of the archi- 
tect. They are small houses — your only true comfort in 
this cold climate lies in snugness. Each house has a base- 



2i6 THE DEMONIAC 

ment sittiug-rooin, which in winter is commonly used as the 
family living-room : on the ground floor is the best room : 
above are three or four bedrooms : at the back is a narrow 
strip of garden, in which those who are clever and can give 
all their leisure to the task contrive to grow quantities of 
flower-bearing plants : it is also useful on Monday morning 
for a drying ground, when the incense of soapsuds arises 
weekly in a fragrant steam and ascends to the Goddess of 
Cleanliness ; then the back garden presents a waving white 
surface broken only, to the eye of the upper story, by the 
green poles : the garden generally has a swing in it for the 
children, and in many cases there is even a green arbour 
where the gentlemen of the family may take, in the cool of 
a summer evening, the solace of tobacco. In front of the 
house is a small, a minute garden, which has sometimes 
only a single laurel in it, but more often boasts of a laburnum 
or a lime, or even a hawthorn. And many of the houses are 
covered all over with Virginia Creeper, so that the autumn 
aspect of this quarter is all glorious without. 

Apart from the convenience of the residences and the leafy 
beauty of the roads, I have often thought that the most 
precious quality of the district is the entire absence of any- 
thing which can humble the residents and make them 
envious. No great houses rear their lofty fronts beside 
these simple two-storied structures : no one possesses a 
private carriage, not even the doctor : nobody keeps more 
than one servant : there are no dinner-parties ; a dress-coat 
is absolutely not known ; dinner is regarded, not as a 
function or religious ceremony, but as an operation — like 
stoking the engine — necessary, expensive, even with the 
best management, and a thing to be jealously kept within 
limits. Yet, though there are no dress-coats, think not that 
there is no society. There is a great deal of society ; young 
folks enjoy greater facilities for meeting each other than 
persons who obey the stricter law of convention and pro- 
priety : the girls get lots of pretty things to put on — most 
pretty things, in fact, are cheap — though they have to make 
up these pretty things with their own pretty hands, for their 
own pretty figures. As for getting engaged, they are all 
engaged, sometimes half a dozen times over — but not more 
than one at a time, so lofty is the moral standard — before 
they finally settle down. There is an unwritten law, obeyed 



IX ARCADIA 217 

by all but the reckless and the unthinking, that a prudent 
pair should not marry until the income reaches a hundred 
and twenty : this once achieved, they form the procession, 
strike up the 'Wedding ]\Iarch,' and march up the aisle 
before the clergyman, conscious of having done their duty 
in waiting, and now fully justified in commencing as Adam 
and Eve in a new garden of Eden from which they hope 
never to be turned out. There are dancing-classes in the 
winter : in the summer there are excursions, trips, tourists' 
tickets, and outings : there are lectures, concerts, readings : 
and there is a social life of the church and the chapel — of 
late years Church has discovered that she, too, must come 
down and associate with her people if she would keep them 
out of Chapel. 

They are never dull. ^Yhen men and women congregate 
together and know- each other as friends and neighbours, 
they are never dull. Those places only are dull where the 
houses stand side by side, and street lies parallel with street, 
and no man knoweth his neighbour. Bloomsbury is dull ; 
South Kensington is dull ; but this place — never. 

One must not specify its exact situation on the map of 
London. To name the place, if this history should come to 
be widely read, might cause a rush, an influx, an immigra- 
tion of strange folk who have nothing in common with these 
people but their income. This would run up the rents, 
enhance the value of the pews, and enlarge the views of the 
butcher, which are already. Heaven knows, large enough ! 
Call it Clerkland, but it should be called Arcadia. 

Quite the prettiest road in Clerkland is Daffodil Road : it 
is at once the broadest, the best planted with trees, and the 
most flowery. There are flowers in every window ; there is 
a Virginia Creeper over every house, a lilac or a laburnum 
in every front, a lime-tree for every two houses, along the 
whole road. The line is broken by a red-brick Church set 
among trees, and already pleasantly wrapped in ivy — the 
Church of St. Luke the Physician— where the services are 
musical and bright : the word ' bright,' as generally applied 
to the modern church service, has a meaning quite peculiar, 
but then everything should have its own adjectives. There 
are forty-two houses in the Daffodil Road, each with its own 
name all to itself, though the post-office, which lacks poetical 
sentiment, insists upon a number as well. 



2i8 THE DEMONIAC 

The residents in the road mostly know each other, either 
with famiharity and intimate friendship or with a spealiiug 
acquaintance. And they know each other's private affairs : 
they know where every husband. has his berth, and what is 
his salary ; what his family, what his wife's methods of 
household management, and, pretty nearly, the weekly bill 
of the butcher. It is not so much in a spirit of prying 
curiosity that this knowledge is sought — curiosity, doubt- 
less, enters to a certain extent into the inquiry — we are but 
human, — as in the desire to get, if possible, another wrinkle 
into the great and wonderful mystery of managing. For, 
lo you ! we who boast that we are men — men the creators 
— men the inventors — men who carry along the world — men 
who discover, create, enlarge,— we men have never imagined 
or devised anything that surpasses in ingenuity, wit, con- 
trivance, and marvels of results, the great Art of Manage- 
ment invented by Woman, and carried in this suburb to its 
utmost perfection— a miracle and passing wonder of human 
skill. It is indeed a most amazing art. Understand that 
she who has to bring up a family of six on an income of two 
hundred and fifty pounds a year : to educate them : to teach 
them manners : to make them appear in the streets neatly 
and, for the girls, prettily dressed, must for ever be studying 
this wonderful art. She does not go out to spend : she 
stays at home and manages : she does not buy this or that 
as the whim seizes her, if she thinks that she wants it : she 
manages. That is to say, for the most part she does with- 
out — she waits. But— consider — when at last, after patient 
waiting, she arrives at the power of getting a thing that is 
to add so much to the family comfort, she purchases it with 
a far fuller joy, a far deeper satisfaction, a far greater thank- 
fulness than can ever be enjoyed by that unhappy Dives 
who only experiences a slight sense of something lacking 
before he orders and buys a thing. The matron who 
manages gets the full flavour and enjoyment of everything 
that she buys or possesses. 

It is not, indeed, an unhappy life, that of the pctites gens 
— the Folk of the very small income. They have to make 
their things last a long while : they hardly ever have as 
much dinner as they could put away had they a free hand, 
so to speak : they must consider the penny for the omnibus 
and the halfpenny for the evening paper : anything that 



/A' ARCADIA 



319 



cannot be made at home wants money — therefore every- 
thing that can be made at home is made there : the clever 
husband with his own hands and the family gimlet executes 
the little repairs of the house and furniture : sometimes, 
but not often, he is so clever that he can actually make 
things — cabinets, picture-frames, cupboards, garden-seats, 
benches : his wife does the repairs of all the garments 
except the boots — to the philosopher it is difficult to under- 
stand why she has not long since resolved to mend the 
boots as well as the socks : the one servant does the washing. 
It is astonishing how much may be saved when husband 
and wife are thrifty and know how to manage. Above all, 
and as the first consideration, one must not eat or drink 
too much : the children are expected to finish up the bread- 
and-butter, and not to ask for more : everything is doled — 
the tea by half-spoonfuls, the milk drop by drop as if it was 
a precious cordial, the butter is spread thin, and the cheese 
is cut in bits the size of dice. Well, they have always been 
accustomed to pare and to save ; it is their life : they are 
never able to buy — they must manage. 

Among the families of Daffodil Road was, until a few 
weeks ago, one which differed in many respects from those 
around them. The differences were in points minute to 
those above and below, but of great importance to those of 
the same level. To begin with, the head of the household, 
understood to be by birth an Australian, was in appearance 
quite unlike the rest of the householders. They, for the 
most part, are small in stature and slight in figure : they 
mostly, in middle-age, incline to primness : they are all, 
even in earliest youth, neat in apparel, as becomes those 
who are taught at the outset the mere money value of per- 
sonal appearance. This Australian was a big man : he had 
a big frame, big hands, a big head, and a big brown beard. 
He was careless in his dress, which generally consisted of 
some brown stuff : he wore a pot-hat : he had such small 
regard for appearance that he smoked a pipe in his front 
garden : he was irregular in his churcli attendance : he was 
not respectful to the clergy, speaking to the curate as if he 
was his equal : he was always genial, always ready to talk 
and to laugh. He laughed quite freely, this singular young 
man. In this quarter they are seldom given much to mirth 
— mere idle mirth— because, you see, they must for ever be 



220 THE DEMONIAC 

thinking of Management, an art which demands that the 
votaries give themselves up wholly to their Mistress. 

He was not, in fact, in the least point like a City man. 
He had no respect for wealth, and cared nothing about 
money-making. Now, to these simple people the honour 
and glory of toiling all day long in order to make money for 
their masters is increased in proportion to the amount of 
money they do make. When the year has been fat and the 
garners are full, they sw^ell out with pride, they give them- 
selves airs among their fellows. Why not ? It is the part 
of a good servant, says the copybook, which we too often 
neglect, to rejoice at the good fortune of his master. Such 
observations as fell from the lips of Mr. George Humphrey, 
so far from sympathizing wuth this view, were calculated 
even to make the clerks ashamed of their zeal. He asked 
openly what good it did them when the year's balance 
brought an extra ten thousand or so to their master's 
gains. 

Of course his profession was known. It was that of a 
journalist. Your true City man regards the calling with 
unconcealed dislike. The pay is supposed to be uncertain : 
there are no regular rises in salary : a man at fifty may 
make no more than a youth of twenty : there are no fixed 
hours. To a regular and methodical man the alleged un- 
certainties of the profession make it abhorrent and abhorred. 
Why, the journalist does not even want an office, a thing 
granted to the humblest beginner in Clerkdom : he may do 
his work at home, while his wife is ironing the linen ; or he 
may sit in public-houses and write ; or he may go to Free 
Libraries and write there ; or he may find a corner in the 
printing-house and write there ; or he may even ^Yrite in 
the street — horrible ! There is no dignity in such a pro- 
fession. And he is paid by the job : even a leader-writer 
gets so much for his article : one might as well be a 
working-man and get paid by the piece. 

George Humphrey belonged, it is true, to the lower walks 
of journalism. He had what is called a permanent appoint- 
ment as leader-writer, paragraphist, and sub-editor of the 
Clerkland Observer (with which is incorporated the Arcadian 
Gazette), a local paper of more importance than those who 
only read The Times would believe. This job brought him 
in two pounds ten a week ; but then he wrote nearly the 



IN ARCADFA 221 

whole paper, and it took him two days and a half out of 
the solid six. He did it so well that when, as happened 
regularly once every two months, he had husiness which 
took him out of town for three or four days, the proprietor 
gave him leave to go and find a substitute at his own 
expense. In the remaining three and a half days of the 
week George Humphrey occupied himself in writing short 
papers for magazines, essays, sketches, notes of travel, 
papers on books and authors, and so forth. He was a man 
of industry and reading : he had travelled much and 
observed much : he wrote in a pleasing style that had 
flashes and sparks of brilliancy. Consider the enormous 
number of weekly journals that now have to find attrac- 
tive stufl' for their insatiate pages ! Paste and scissors will 
do a great deal, but it will not do everything. Such a man 
as George Humphrey, with so much experience and versa- 
tility, can always sell his productions, even if he cannot 
command his price. The latter, indeed, varies according to 
the liberality of the proprietor and the circulation of the 
paper. It varies from nothing a column — one could tell 
harrowing stories, were this the place — up to a whole pound 
a column, which was George's highest price. In this way 
and by working twice as hard as any man in any other 
calling for the same money, he made an income large for 
the place and people among whom he lived, and no more 
precarious than that of a Doctor or of a Solicitor in prac- 
tice, though to the City clerk it seemed an uncertain, hand- 
to-n:iouth, way of living. 

The wife of the journalist sat at her open window one 
evening in May, between six and seven. The evenings of 
the sweet spring season of this year were as balmy as the 
poet's dream of May. The day had been warm and bright : 
the sloping sun shone all along Daffodil Road upon the rows 
of limes in their pale chloral early foliage, upon the lilacs 
and the laburnums and the hawthorn all in full splendour : 
upon the Virginia Creepers, fast shooting up their long buds. 
Daffodil Road was glorified. It has two such brief periods 
of glory : one in the spring, too often spoiled by prolonged 
east wind ; one in the autumn, also too often spoiled by 
September rain and premature frost. 

Mrs. Humphrey sat with her work in her hands : the 
cradle of her baby at her foot, and her two-year-old roUin^ 



222 



THE DEMONIAC 



over a ball on the floor. That she was happy and contented 
was manifested by her attitude, by her repose, by the low 
soft croon of her voice, as she bent over her sewing or looked 
up at her boy. 

Nettie Humphrey was inclined to be small and slight in 
figure, like so many London girls ; yet taller than most. 
Her shoulders were rather narrow. Her head, however, 
was well shaped and large in proportion to the rest of her : 
her features were regular, and her eyes of dark blue— where 
did she get those dark-blue eyes? — were certainly fine. Her 
mouth, firm and rather square, showed the possibility of 
that precious quality which we call character. The room in 
which she sat was furnished in a taste quite unusual. For 
this quarter, while it clings to a best room which it has not 
quite ceased to call a best parlour, runs to stiffness and 
ceremony ; loves a central table with books round it, and an 
ornament in the middle of it ; likes to have a looking-glass 
over the fireplace ; insists upon a piano, even though nobody 
can play upon it ; and covers up every chair with things 
still called antimacassars, the name pointing to the dark 
ages when men and women plastered their hair with scented 
grease and wore it long. Moreover, the taste of this quarter 
is great on mantel-shelf ornaments, inclining still to hanging 
crystals and pink-glass jars, and it is not comfortable with- 
out a great hanging gas chandelier. This room, on the other 
hand, looked like a room for living in. There was a com- 
fortable couch, ready to be wheeled up to the fire : there 
were two easy-chairs : there was no central table : there 
was no gas chandelier at all : there was no great looking- 
glass. It was furnished, in short, much as if Mr. William 
Morris himself had been asked to step in and do what he 
thought best. On the walls there were pictures which the 
visitors could not understand. Not their idea, you see, of 
what a picture should be. And one side of the room was 
clothed, covered, hidden by books. 

Nettie looked at the clock on the mantel-shelf. ' Half- 
past six,' she said. ' He will not come home before eight at 
earliest.' 

She resumed her work with a little sigh. Then she heard 
footsteps outside, and got up to open the door. 

Her visitor was young, like herself, and a married woman. 
She wore a hat and no gloves. ' I just ran across, Nettie, 



IN ANCADIA 223 

she said, throNvinii; herself into a chair. ' It's so dull at 
home when tliere is no work to be done. How's baby ? 
How are you, Georgie, boy ? Where's George ? How do 
you like your new bonnet '?' 

She was Nettie's younger sister, Victoria, recently married 
to a clerk in a Bank on a hundred and fifty. Victoria was 
like her sister, but smaller : prettier, in her way, yet of 
much less consequence, to look at. She was very pretty, 
indeed, of a beauty quite common, the small-sized beauty : 
small, regular features ; bright, gray eyes ; light hair, of the 
fluffy kind ; very small hands ; and a mouth which, while it 
certainly might be called a rosebud, had also in it that 
slight but clear-cut curve which should be dreaded by lovers, 
because it denotes temper. She was Lady Venus the Little 
— and Venus with the vice of temper. Lady Venus the 
Great — Venus the unapproachable — can never be put into a 
bad temper. It is impossible for her to be in a bad temper, 
even with those whose hearts do not beat at the aspect and 
thought of her. She pities them, but she is not irritated by 
the coldness of such natures. 

' We are all very well, Vic. How is Charlie?' 

' Charlie went off this morning in a hateful temper. As if 
a woman is not to be allowed to speak ! I did speak up, 
though, and I will. I dare say he will come round again 
during the day. If he doesn't, I don't care. Sulking hurts 
him more than me. What have you got here? A new 
chair? My goodness! You had a new chair six months 
ago. My dear, no income could stand it !' 

' George buys nothing that he cannot afford. And we are 
saving money. Do not worry about our dreadful extrava- 
gance. Vic dear, mother was here this morning. She had 
a good deal to say, too, about the butcher's bill.' 

' Well, it isn't what we were brought up to, is it ? As 
much beef and mutton as you hke, and all your washing 

put out, and your dresses bought ready-made for you ' 

Vic sighed. ' You ought to think yourself a lucky girl, 
Nettie. I wish to goodness I had your housekeeping money. 
But there — it's no use wishing. Some day, perhaps, when 
Charlie gets made assistant-manager ' 

' Patience, Vic dear.' 

The girl got up and began impatiently turning over the 
things on the table. Among them was a photograph album. 



224 THE DEMONIAC 

She opened it. There were the family portraits — her father 
with a book in his hand, and the look of a philosopher equal 
to the mightiest problems — her mother with a self-conscious 
smile — herself looking saucy, more like a chorister in a 
burlesque than a respectable married woman — George, big 
and bearded. 

' Nettie,' she said, ' haven't you got any photographs of 
George's relations? He must have some, you know. We've 
all got father and mother and brothers and cousins — where 
are his ?' 

' They are in Australia, somewhere.' 

' Well, if I were you I'd never rest till I found out all 
about them ' 

' My dear, I do know all about them.' 

' Their names and their professions. They may be only 
shopkeepers. Not that I'd cast that in George's teeth. As 
Charlie says, we can't all be born gentlemen. Though, to 
be sure, I never would have married Charlie unless I knew 
that his family were respectable.' 

'I am perfectly satisfied upon that point,' said Nettie, 
with dignity. 

' George certainly — whatever people think — seems to be 
all right,' said her sister doubtfully. ' His manners are 
sometimes free, but I suppose it's Australian ways. And he 
seems to be making good money in his way — though, thank 
goodness, it is not our way. " Better a small screw and cer- 
tainty," saysCharlie, " than to wake up every morning with- 
out knowing what you'll make in the day." And certainly 
George goes on sober, and he's kind to you, and fond of the 
children. He might listen to mother with a little more 
patience. But we don't know his family, that's very cer- 
tain. And— a curious thing, Nettie — Charlie was talking 
the other day to a gentleman, an old schoolfellow of his, 
who's been out to Melbourne, where he was an auctioneer's 
clerk. Well, he says that he never heard the name of 
George Humphrey there at all. I thought I'd tell you, 
Nettie.' 

' Thank you for nothing, Vic ! What does it matter to 
me whether Charlie's friend has heard of George or not ? 
Melbourne is a big place. There are half a million people 
in Melbourne. Perhaps George has never heard of your 
auctioneer's clerk.' 



IN ARCADIA 12(, 

' To be sure, clerks and journalists,' said Victoria, putting 
down the album with a little sniff, ' do not always mix in 
the same circles. So that, as you say, it may mean nothing. 
But when it comes to hiding away your relations as if you 
were ashamed of them, never talking about them, never 
writing to them, getting no letters from them — what does it 
point to? Everybody thinks the same thing. It means 
tliat you are ashamed of your relations. Well, my dear, 
you're not married to George's relations, are you? It 
doesn't matter much — only when I go on Sundays to take 
tea with Charhe's mother, and all in a respectable way, I do 
feel a bit sorry for you. I dare say it's all right. You've 
got more housekeeping-money than your mother and me 
put together. You've lots to be grateful for. Your babies 
are beauties : and as for your things and your furniture, 
though this is not my idea of a best room, they are as good 
as can be. You're far better off than before you were mar- 
ried. So that it would be a thousand pities if you were to 
find out anything — wouldn't it? or if your money was to 
vanish away — wouldn't it?' 

Nettie nodded and laughed. She was not in the least 
alarmed or vexed by these gloomy forebodings. In fact, she 
was used to them. Her family never failed to warn her that 
Fortune is fickle, that no one knew her husband's relations, 
and that he had no fixed salary. Her sister Vic, especially, 
gathered consolation from considering these dangers. Her 
own housekeeping required the most watchful management : 
her ' things ' were on a very Hmited scale. But then she 
was safe with her husband : she knew his family. He had 
a safe income, though it was small. Her sister, on the 
other hand, though she spent so much money, was married 
to an adventurer whose family was a mystery, and who 
neglected his church. I do not suppose that she actively 
desired her sister's ruin ; but she certainly consoled herself 
in times of the greater tightness with thinking of her sister's 
perils. 

When Victoria was gone, Nettie worked on in silence. 
She knew very well, she said to herself, all that there was 
to know about her husband. His father had land up coun- 
try, outside Melbourne: he himself had no brothers or 
sisters : he had inherited this bit of land and a trifle. He 
had been educated, and was now in England making a living, 

15 



226 THE DEMONIAC 

and a very fair living too, by journalism. Everything was 
quite straightforward : nothing to hide. Yet, to her own 
family, the case was full of mystery. 

Another step outside the door. This time her brother 
Horatio. 

The Patager family consisted of Mr. Samuel Patager and 
his spouse ; two sons, Horatio and Herbert ; and two 
daughters, Antoinette and Victoria. The selection of the 
Christian name is, in all classes of society, a matter of great 
delicacy and importance. What names more happy than 
those four ? The daughters happily married : one of the 
sons married ; there remained under the paternal roof the 
younger son, Horatio. 

Horatio was a bounder. No more illustrious bounder than 
Horatio in the whole quarter. In his bounding he practised, 
as far as his means allowed, all those arts and accomplish- 
ments belonging to the profession. He dressed, as well as 
things would allow, in the latest fashion : he played billiards : 
he talked of actresses : he attended dancing-classes : he 
spoke familiarly of things unattainable : he put shillings or 
half-crowns — when he had any to spare — on the favourite : 
he smoked cigarettes : he was, in short, a commonplace, 
pasty-faced, unwholesome young man, who should have been 
taken away and made to serve in the ranks for two years. 

The other brother, Herbert, was a good young man. By 
trade also a clerk, by profession he was a good young man. 
The story of the good young man belongs to another place — 
perhaps to another writer. He does not belong to this story. 
Let us, therefore, with a word of gratitude for one good 
young man in this world of wickedness, pass him by. It 
was Horatio who called upon his sister, not Herbert. Horatio 
the bounder. 

' I say, Nettie,' he whispered, looking round the room ; 
' George not about, is he ?' 

' No ; George has not come home yet.' 

' Look here, Nettie — I'm stone broke. Lend me live bob, 
there's a good girl. Only five bob — unless you like to make 
it six,' 

'No!' she replied shortly. 'I've not got any money to 
lend. You ought to know that.' 

' George gives you as much as you hke. Lend me five 



IN ARCADIA 227 

bob, and j^ou shall have it back on Monday. Put it down 
to the house. He •»von't find out.' 

' Now, Horatio,' Nettie replied, ' if you dare to say such a 
thing again, I will tell George, and he will ' 

' What will George do, I should like to know ?' 

' Well, perhaps he would take you up by the collar and 
give you a good shaking. He could, you know, quite easily.' 

' Oh ! would he ? I should like to see him ' 

He was small and insignificant to look at ; but he fired up 
at this insult, and looked, for the moment, quite valiant. 

' If that is all you've come to say, Horry, you had better 
go away at once.' 

' A nice sister you are, to care more about your own 
husband than your own brother ! Why, there isn't another 
woman in the world who would be as mean as you. Your 
husband, indeed !' 

' He does behave better than my own brother,' said Nettie. 
' He doesn't go about to billiard-rooms, and he doesn't spend 
his money in music-halls. And now go, or I shall tell George 
what you say, and you will see how he looks when he is 
angry.' 

' I don't care how he looks. I say, Nettie, some day I 
will find out what he has done, and why he is in hiding, and 
then it'll be my turn. See if it won't. Talk of taking me 
up by the collar ! I'll have the knife in, Nettie, and I'll 
twist it. Who is he? Where are his family? Him to be 
setting sister against brother ! W^ell, I'll be even with him!' 

He disappeared. It will be seen that the 'family,' be- 
tween them, caused Nettie a good many disagreeable 
moments. 

She had one more visitor. This time it was her father 
tempted out by the beauty of the evening. 

The elder Patager suggested, by his appearance and 
manner, that he was the confidential clerk of a tall, portly, 
and pompous City magnate. For he was himself, though 
not tall, somewhat portly, as if, with a more generous diet, 
he might assume really aldermanic pi-oportions : and he 
was a little pompous, out of office hours, as if he imitated 
his chief at a respectful distance. His face was full, but 
wanting in the true City fulness — such fulness as cometh 
of turtle-soup. He spoke slowly and with the air of one 



228 THE DEMONIAC 

delivering a judgment — yet the judgments were weak. He 
seemed to endeavour after a sonorous voice, but the result 
was feeble. One whose conduct of life was really governed 
by the strictest sense of what was right. There is no employe 
in the world so honest, so regular, so zealous, or so trust- 
worthy, as a good, elderly, life-long City clerk. He is above 
suspicion and beyond temptation. He holds no Socialist 
views as to the division of the spoil. He is contented with 
his own salary. He has done better in the struggle of life 
than many other men. Let us recognise the many virtues 
of the man who keeps all the books for the vast trade in 
the great City of London, and keeps them honestly and 
exactly. Every such clerk, in the course of a long and 
laborious life, builds up for himself, if it were only ac- 
knowledged, a monument of ledgers as high as the Dome 
of St. Paul's. 

' Well, my dear,' — Nettie was his favourite, chiefly because 
her tongue lacked the readiness and the sharpness that 
belonged to certain other tongues in his household, — ' on 
such a fine evening, one is tempted to forego the intellectual 
pursuits proper to the time of day. So I thought I would 
— yes — put down the evening paper and look in. This room 
always looks comfortable, ray dear, perhaps because you 
are in it, though your mother doesn't hold with the style. 
And how's George ? Out still, looking for jobs ? An anxious 
life — incessant anxiety — nothing safe or secure about it. 
Give me the regular salary and absence from care.' 

Nettie laughed. 

' There isn't much worry about George, to look at him. 
He eats well, and sleeps well.' 

' But nothing regular. A day-by-day life. Well, well, 
we cannot all be in the City, It's something to learn 
that work keeps up, — something — something to learn so 
much.' 

' Oh ! the work is all right. It never was better.' 

' I am free to confess, my dear,' the father began, with 
his approach to pomposity, ' that I was originally deterred 
by the considerations ' 

' Now you are going to say that George is only a journalist. 
I have heard it so many times already I' 

Nettie was getting irritated by their continued reflections 
on her husband's calling. 



IN ARCADIA 229 

' I was about to say that the uncertainty of the work, 
coupled ' 

' No fear about the work. Father, don't worry about 
George. You've got enough to worry about with Horatio. 
And look here, father : it's time that things were left off — 
you know what I mean — things about George. Else there 
may be trouble. Victoria comes to-day, and Horry after 
her, and both with the same story. As if there was any- 
thing hidden about George ! What is there to hide ? What 
do you want to know, that you don't know?' 

' My dear, when you allow your daughter to marry a 
stranger, you naturally ask yourself whether that stranger 
belongs to a respectable family.' 

' You should have asked him three years ago, then. You 
did ask — and so did I — and I am satisfied.' 

' Every man has got relations — even in Australia. He 
must have a father and a mother.' 

' George's parents are dead.' 

' To shake hands even with a cousin would be a satisfac- 
tion.' 

' Go to Australia, then, and shake hands with his cousins 
there. Seriously, father, I can't have these things said any 
longer by my own family. If they were said by anyone 
else, I should very soon tell George. Then I know what 
he would do : he would go away, he would take his family 
away. ' 

' I sometimes think,' said her father meditatively, ' that 
they would be glad if George was found out in something. 
They're always talking about him that way.' 

' I believe they would !' 

The personal pronoun in the plural may mean a great 
deal. In this case it meant the mother, Victoria and her 
brothers. 

' Words cannot break bones, Nettie.' 

' They may break love, though ! If I am expected any 
longer to sit in patience while my husband is slandered, I 
shall have to consider — that's all, father. And you had 
better tell them so.' 



330 THE DEMONIAC 

CHAPTER IX. 

AT THE SIGN OF THE BON MABI. 

At eight o'clock the garden-door swung open and a ponderous 
step on the gravel announced the return of the Master. 
Though she had been married for three long years, Nettie 
sprang from her chair and ran to meet and greet her husband. 
He came in — the man whom you have already seen under 
another name— big, bearded, his countenance ruddy and 
cheerful. Eemembering the wise Physician's prophecy, you 
might expect certain outward and visible signs of decay. 
Nothing of the kind was visible. Some of the old light gone 
— some of the old eagerness vanished — but then he is three 
or four years older. Besides, a big man cannot preserve 
his youthful alacrity : he cannot be alert : his length of 
limb and his breadth of shoulder will not allow the exhibi- 
tion of these qualities : he must move with a certain slow- 
ness. Hence it has followed that the great men of the world 
have always been the little men. 

He came into the room, his wife hanging on his arm, and 
sat down with the sigh of one who has knocked off for the 
day. 

' Have you been busy to-day, dear '?' she asked. ' Are 
you tired ?' 

He patted her cheek gently. 

' I have done a good day's work,' he said. ' And I claim 
the right to be cross and tired and hungry. And you, 
Nettie?' 

' I will be cross and tired as well, then. The children 
have been very good. Vic looked in and father. Vic was 
rather dissatisfied and cross. I'm afraid she doesn't manage 
very well — and, poor thing ! she has got to manage so much. 
Well, dear?' 

He drew her to him with his great arms and kissed her 
twice fondly. 

Three years before he had assured a certain learned 
Physician that he could never again care much for any 
human creature : he meant that, having found it necessary 
to break off one engagement, he did not feel for the moment 



AT THE SIGS OF THE DON MAR I 231 

equal to beginning anotlier. The learned Physician inloruied 
him, in reply, that loneliness would prove too much for him. 
Prophetic Physician ! 

He came to this part of London. He drew from the 
Bank money enough to keep himself going : he proposed to 
make this seive, and for the future to keep himself by his 
own work. When such a man, untrained for any profession, 
thinks of work he turns to journalism. Formerly, he turned 
to teaching : now, he goes to the nearest newspaper. In the 
same way, women formerly, if they were compelled to work 
for themselves, could think of nothing but governessing : 
now, if that calamitous necessity falls upon them, there are 
a hundred ways. 

George became a journalist. That is, he offered himself 
to the local paper : for the wages of a grocer's assistant he 
began to furnish sketches, to look up things of local interest, 
and to make himself useful. He succeeded : he got on so 
well that he was now sub-editor — that is to say, he edited 
the paper, but the Proprietor put his own name at the 
top. 

Presently he widened his work, as you have seen, and 
began to work for magazines. 

He lived alone in lodgings. He knew no one at all : he 
made no attempt to make friends, and once in two mouths 
Mr. Mavis called for him and took him away for two or 
three days. 

He presently found his life intolerably dull. He tried to 
brighten it by going to places of amusement. They amused 
him no longer. 

Then he made an acquaintance. She was in the Post 
Office. He got into the habit of speaking to her when he 
bought stamps. It is quite easy to exchange a word or two 
of simple courtesy with a young lady who serves out the 
stamps and receives the telegrams. He discovered that she 
was a pretty girl— nay, a very^ pretty girl — that she had 
really beautiful eyes, and that she seemed, besides, to be a 
quiet girl of good manners. 

One Sunday afternoon he met her in the street. He took 
off his hat. He assumed the position of an old acquaintance. 
He walked with her. He informed her of his name and his 
profession and the place of his residence. He obtained per- 
mission to see her home when she left her office next day. 



232 THE DEMONIAC 

He went back to bis own lodgings a new man — in love once 
more. 

Now she was bis wife and the mother of his two children, 
the dispenser of his wealth. But he had not yet, for her 
sake, dared to meet and to grapple with that fiend. Still, 
after the stated interval, Mavis called for him. Still, be 
went away stimulated, partly by the suggestions of the faith- 
ful man-servant, partly by force of habit, and partly by the 
Devil, into the craving which demanded that he should 
become a drunken hog. That continued, but it did not 
increase. The Devil took his tax— two days, or three at the 
most — every two months. The rest he might give to virtue, 
temperance and restraint. 

' George,' Nettie said presently, her thoughts still running 
upon the question of her husband's people, * this glorious 
sunshine makes you think of Australia, I suppose ?' 

' Sometimes, and of other countries where the sun is 
warm.' 

' And of your own people too. Wouldn't you like to see 
some of them again ?' 

' My own people ? Oh yes — perhaps,' he replied care- 
lessly. ' What made you think of my cousins, Nettie ? I 
am not very anxious to see my cousins, I think. What 
made you think of them ?' 

' I don't know. At least — but it doesn't matter, 
George.' 

' When one has no nearer relations than cousins — first, 
second, or third — one does not think very much about rela- 
tions, I suppose. I have had no communication with any 
of mine for four or five years. I wonder,' he added reflec- 
tively, ' if they think I am dead ? Because in that case ' 

He paused with a little chuckle. 

' Are they rich people ?' 

' Some of them are very rich indeed. But we mustn't 
look to them for any help. Nobody is less inclined to help 
a man than a rich cousin. He is ashamed of poor relations, 
to begin with.' 

* They've no call to be ashamed of you, George. And we 
don't want their money.' 

' Certainly not.' 

' Do they live in Australia?' 

' None of them live in Australia. They all live here, in 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BON MAR I 233 

England. When they do invite us to visit them next, we 
will go together, so that you may see their grandeur.' 

' Perhaps, dear, they may help the boys when the time 
comes.' 

' The boys, I hope, will help themselves. You see, my 
dear, I am perfectly certain that they will not think my 
boys in want of any help.' 

' Do they know, George, where you are, and that you are 
married ?' 

' Well, you remember that your father put a notice of the 
marriage in the paper. Perhaps they saw that.' 
' Perhaps.' 

' Nettie, my dear ' — he drew her to sit upon his knee 
while he lay back, his head in his hands — ' let us talk, not 
about rich cousins, but about being rich. How should you 
like to be rich, now '?' 

' I don't know. What do you call rich ? Four hundred 
pounds a year?' 

' No. Five thousand — ten thousand — a year — all to 
spend.' 

' I can't think of so much. We could never spend so 
much, nor half.' 

' Try to think of being so rich. Try to understand what 
it means to be rich. I believe that a dream of great wealth 
is the commonest dream of all. Did you never dream 
what you would do if you were rich ?' 

' No, I never did. It would be foolish. Father used to 
be fond of saying what he would do if he were rich. His 
thoughts ran on great houses and gardens, and a carriage. 
I think, too, he would like to have an office and a staff of 
clerks. But that's the way of a man, always to be thinking 
of something different. Thinking and wishing won't alter 
things. A woman understands what is before her, and 
makes the best of it. Many men, I am sure, never under- 
stand exactly what they are. My brother Horry, for 

instance ' 

' No, my dear. Horatio Patager certainly does not yet 
understand himself.' 

' Then, you see, it is so silly of people in our station to 
dream about getting rich. When a boy is made a clerk, he 
ought to understand, to begin with, that he can never 
become rich.' 



234 'fHE DEMONIAC 

' Like a Franciscan, when he assumes the triple cord, he 
renounces wealth. The modern Franciscan is the City 
clerk.' 

' He must be content to live respectably and to do his 
duty, and to set an example of honesty and moral principle 
to those above him and to those beneath him in station.' 

' Quite right, Nettie dear. It is only since I have known 
you that I have properly estimated the breadth and the 
depth of the influence exercised by the City clerk.' 

' Father was never rich. That is certain. But we 
have always been most respected. Nobody can deny 
that.' 

' Consider, my dear. Give reins to your imagination. If 
you were rich, you would have no anxieties. At present, 
your happiness depends upon my health and strength. They 
may fail. If you were rich, you would not think about 
me so much, perhaps.' 

' Then I could not love you so much, dear.' 

' The boys would have the best education ' 

' And learn to grow up idle, and so get into mis- 
chief. ' 

' You would have your carriage and your servants, and 
a big house- ' 

Nettie shook her head. 

' These things do not attract me. Why do you keep 
harping on rich people, George?' 

' Partly, my dear, from a habit of curious speculation. 
Partly, because there seems a chance — just, just a chance — 
of our really becoming better off.' 

' Oh ! better off. That I don't say.' 

' Yes, a good deal better off. It is an opening. An offer 
— provisional, of course — that I have had made to me, in 
connection wath a West-End paper. If anything comes of 
it — why, then you would have to prepare yourself for a 
considerable increase to your income, madam.' 

' Oh ! How much ?' 

' Last year I made three hundred pounds. What do you 
say to six hundred ?' 

' George ! It is impossible ! Six hundred ?' 

' Improbable, my dear, not impossible. To the journalist, 
as to the engineer, nothing is impossible. We do not know 
the word. But we must consider before we make a bid for 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BON MARl ly^ 

this vast income. Being poor, my dear, has many advan- 
tages. I never knew how good a thing it is to be poor 
until — until I married you, Nettie dear.' 

' Not that we are poor at all, George. And now come to 
supper.' 

After supper, George again began to talk about riches 
and poverty. He persisted in regarding himself and his 
wife as poor people, though they had quite the nicest house 
in Dall'odil Eoad, with every room furnished and paid for, 
and nothing on the hire system ; and though his wife had 
nearly a hundred pounds of her own, all saved since her 
marriage, and standing to her name in the Post Oflice 
Savings Bank. 

' You see,' he said, ' how simple is our life— how few are 
our wants as we live now. If we had more money, the 
wants would increase, the simplicity would vanish.' 

' I am sure,' his wife replied, * that we have everything 
we want. We ought to be very happy, George dear, and I 
am too.' She laid her hand upon his arm fondly. 'Very 
happy, my dear, thanks to you. Who could be unhappy 
with such a husband ?' 

He kissed her. Then he filled and lit his pipe. 

' Let us, however, consider farther,' George continued. 
' We occupy, at present, an obscure station, and have few 
responsibilities. No one expects anything of us : we have 
few opportunities of cheating our employers, or sweating our 
servants. My employer, for instance, the Proprietor of the 
Clcrkland Observer {\yiih. which is incorporated the Arcadian 
Gazette) can, and does, sweat me. I remark the fact without 
rancour. The practice hurts me little : it keeps me poor, in 
constant occupation, and in good training. It hurts the 
Proprietor more than it hurts me. It damages and weakens, 
you see, his moral fibre. I watch it weakening. It makes 
the downward slope easier for his poor feet. I look to see 
him presently accelei'ate the pace, and — swish ! — glide swiftly 
out of sight into the chasm below.' 

' No one talks like you, George. No wonder the curate 
says you are above your station! "A remarkably well- 
informed man," he said to father.' 

George laughed pleasantly. 

' No man, my dear, can be above his station. He may be 
— he often is — below it. Sometimes I think that even the 



236 THE DEMONIAC 

curate. . . . But no. Any man may adorn his station, but 
he cannot rise above it. To return. Consider another 
point. We have two boys, the image, I am pleased to think, 
of their mother. These boys, when they grow up, will, per- 
haps, begin to form and to nourish ambitious— even in this 
suburb ambitions may spring in the youthful heart. It is 
not given to every man to become the contented clerk. 
Now, if that should prove happily to be the case, they would 
have the whole world before them. Any line of life— every 
line— is open to them. The son of Croesus has no such 
choice. His ambition may be soaring, but his field is limited. 
When you come to think rightly of it, to be so near the 
bottom, with the ladders all round you, by which you may 
climb to dizzy heights in any direction you please, and the 
lowest rungs all within easy reach and open to choice — it is 
glorious ! It is splendid !' 

The wife shook her head. 

' I hope the boys will go on contented with their lot, and 
as happy as we've always been. I don't believe in grandeur. 
It only leads to wild ways.' 

' Perhaps. Another reason for remaining poor. Wild 
ways, indeed ! Wild ways ! For the likes of us 1' 

' And we are not poor, George,' his wife insisted. ' We 
are most respectable people. Father always says that ours 
is the one class that keeps the country honest. We do all 
the work, and the chiefs take all the money. Down below 
there is drink. Up above there is profligacy. That's what 
father says. With us there is honesty, fidehty, and moral 
principle. We don't cheat, like the tradesman. We don't 
grind, Hke the capitahst. We don't drink, like the working- 
man.' 

' And we don't profligate like the House of Lords. Your 
father is always right, my dear Nettie. He is a most valu- 
able member of the State. Well, folks who are— not exactly 
poor— hke ourselves— are not introspective nor retrospec- 
tive.' 

' I don't know what it means, George ; but I am glad we 
are not.' 

' We look not backwards or forwards. Disease, for ex- 
ample, we do not regard as hereditary. This saves us a 
great deal of trouble and anxiety. We take no precautions, 
yet we do not sit down in despair. For instance, there is 



AT THE SIGN OF THE ROX MARl 237 

the hereditary disease of drink. Suppose one ot our boys 
was to break out in that direction ?' 

' I cannot suppose. It is impossible !' the wife interposed. 
' My boys, indeed ! Your boys, George ! To take to drink? 
Impossible !' 

' Quite impossible, which is the reason why I ask you to 
suppose it. The friends of such an one call liim a toper, a 
drunkard, a coward, a disgrace to his family. He feels that 
he must fight against it — there is nothing else possible for 
him. If he does not, he will even lose his livelihood. Now, 
if he were a rich man, he would sit down : he would say, " I 
am a victim of heredity. There is no use in struggling." ' 

' Then he would be a fool for his pains. But nobody 
could be such a fool as that.' 

' I dare say he would. A wiser plan would have been to 
avert the disease by ordinary precautions. Physicians are 
agreed, I believe, that disease may be more easily averted 
than cured. Well, my dear, we are all of us actively engaged, 
in the course of our lives, in, manufacturing diseases, ten- 
dencies, weak places for our children and the generations to 
come. We are at the same time suffering the diseases which 
our fathers were so good as to create for us. Sometimes I 
think that we shall hereafter take turn about, become our 
own grandsons, and so inherit our own creations.' 

' We know that it is not so, George,' said his wife solemnly. 
' As the tree falls ' 

' Quite so. Well, my dear, we who live a simple life 
transmit a simplicity of living, a plain habit, and a healthy 
temperance. Some of our good friends have inherited puny 
bodies and tiny brains. W^ell, they are not conscious of 
their inheritance. That is a distinct gain. They can there- 
fore go on hoping, and can go on working.' 

' They do their duty, George, in that state of life ' 

' They do, my dear ; they faithfully do. And they have 
their screw.' 

If Nettie had any fault to find with her husband, it was 
that he so often interrupted these little extracts from the 
hymn-book and the Prayer Book which pious ladies receive 
as the Very Word. What more would have followed we 
shall never know, because at this point there was a knock at 
the door. 

The late visitor was none other than the interesting and 



238 THE DEMONIAC 

zealous servant, Mavis. But he was a servant no longer. 
He w^as Mr. Mavis. As such Mrs. Humphrey shook hands 
with him. He stood in the doorway without saying a word, 
his eyes dropped. 

' Well ?' asked George, changing colour. ' You here again?' 

' To-night, if you are ready,' he replied quietly. 

' Business in Boston again ? So soon ?' asked the wife. 
' How quick the time comes round !' 

' Business it is, and in Boston, madam,' said Mr, Mavis. 
' Train at ten sharp, if that suits you.' 

He sat down, his hat in his hands, waiting. He was no 
longer the servant, which was shown by his taking a chair, 
but he looked like one still. One never shakes off the manners 
of a servant. 

' I'll pack your bag, George,' said his wife, with a sigh. 
' I had forgotten : I suppose it is two months since you went 
there last. And since it is business that pays so well, why 
should I grumble ?' 

' Since it has to be done, my dear '■ — George rose slowly 
and unwillingly — ' and since it cannot be done at home, I 
suppose it may as well be done at Boston as anywhere else. 
As for paying, ask Mavis himself how well it pays. Bread 
and meat and drink and lodging and clothes it has been to 
him for five long years.' 

Nettie ran away to pack the bag. 

' Don't you feel like it ?' asked Mavis. 

' I never feel like it till you come. Damn you !' 

' Then your throat begins to tickle, and your mind begins 
to run on whisky, and presently you begin to gasp and your 
throat burns ' 

' Hush ! it has begun ' 

His wife came back, carrying the bag. 

' Good-bye, George dear. Take care of yourself. 1 shall 
expect you home in three days. We have got plenty of 
money. Good-night, Mr. Mavis.' 

' My dear ' — George folded her in his arms — ■' let us think 
no more of getting rich. Let us continue in obscurity. So 
best. So we must.' 



MY OWN HOME 239 

CHAPTEE X. 

MY OWN HOME. 

Old men who have risen — young men who are rising — are 
subject, from time to time, to a remarkable yearning after a 
sight of the place they knew and haunted in the days of 
snaall things. They must go back and look at the place : 
they must revive the old associations. We have had, for 
instance, recorded in the public journals, how one who rose 
to be a languishing nobleman from a butcher's boy could not 
refrain from visiting the scenes of his childhood, though the 
visit was likely to bring trouble upon him. 

Professor John Carew, as one of the young men who are 
rising rapidly, was naturally impelled from time to time to 
arise and revisit the scenes of his childhood. There was no 
especial reason : the place was in no way romantic : and 
there were no remarkable incidents peculiar to his own child- 
hood. Yet, once a year — or perhaps once in two years — he 
would go ofl' to walk once more about the old familiar streets 
and roads and squares. There was the church dedicated to 
St. Stephen, of which his father had been vicar : he was 
never particularly fond of the church, and he had no great 
liking for church services. It is not a beautiful church, being 
an erection of red brick : one of those district churches ot 
which so many have been raised within the last twenty years. 
He had spent many hours of tedium in that church while his 
father — a good man, but no orator — read his discourse. Yet 
he always walked down the road in which the church stood, 
and contemplated that monument with interest. The 
vicarage, next the church, was the place where he was born : 
the garden, that in which he had been wont to play : the 
road, that in which his feet first trod their hesitating foot 
steps. He was not a sentimental man, but he had this 
sentimental touch. Perhaps the thing which most attracted 
him was, not so much the memory of the past, as the con- 
trast between his first beginning and the splendid future 
which now seemed stretching out before him. This Church 
of St. Stephen's stands in Daffodil Koad. John Carew is as 
much a native of the quarter as Nettie or Victoria Patager. 



240 THE DEMONIAC 

Therefore, when ou this particular afternoon in June he 
walked about the place, everything was familiar to him. 
He remembered a time when the whole world to him con- 
sisted entirely of roads planted with trees and behind the 
trees little houses all alike, or nearly alike. Later on, the 
whole world consisted of men and women living in a condi- 
tion of chronic tightness, the matrons managing with the 
greatest craft and skill, the boys and girls always longing 
lor what they could not get. There is nothing in the world 
so stimulating to some minds as the present contemplation, 
or the past memory, of domestic tightness. On the other 
hand, to some minds nothing may prove more narrowing 
and enslaving. John Carew remembered how he had very 
early resolved upon getting clear — somehow — of domestic 
tightness. It made him angry to see his mother at work 
every day and all day long, sewing, darning, contriving, ar- 
ranging : she had no independent life at all : no woman 
with her income and her family ever has. Well, he would 
fight his way out of it — somehow. 

The place was so famihar to him. He recalled the prim 
and precise clerk, who lived in this house ; the clerk with 
all the importance of the Senior Partner, who lived in that ; 
the clerk of a financier, who talked of millions. He re- 
membered them all : so regular at church, so narrow in 
their ideas, so proper in their conduct, so solemnly common- 
place in their language, so limited in their ambitions. He 
remembered, besides, the sons of these worthy citizens ; 
why, from the earliest he had felt that he belonged to 
higher levels than they could possibly reach, though at the 
outset they were all poor together. For such a boy as 
John Carew the ladders of ambition have been planted. 
Once the lad has his foot on the first rung, everything may 
be achieved. 

John Carew loitered along the road, thinking of these 
early days when every step was hidden m mist and cloud, 
though the mists and clouds showed golden in the sunshine. 
The young man newly admitted into the ranks of the 
successful, the parvenu among scholars, looks back upon 
such a time with self-congratulation. When he is older he 
will think of it with wonder, that he should have been 
taken from the herd and all the rest be left behind ; and 
with sorrow, that the joy of hope — the first budding of the 



MY UWX HOME 24 r 

timid, half-expressed hope — is so far behind. Presently, 
John Carew began to think of a family he had once known. 
Thus, we first think of the species and then select the indi- 
vidual : we first gaze upon the crowd and then pick out one 
to represent the whole. The head of this family, he re- 
membered, %Yas a clerk and a person of great dignity : he 
was one of the churchwardens of St. Stephen's. His house- 
hold consisted of his wife, two sons and two daughters. 
The boys, he was quite certain, were by this time in the 
City : they were urbi ascripti : long since they had found 
their desks : they were now, perhaps, making their hundred 
pounds a year, or even more. Where were the girls? The 
elder always interested him, because she had large dark- 
blue eyes which looked full of deep, deep thoughts, too wise 
for speech, too spiritual for common man. Nay, there was 
a time even when. . . . But happily that business went but 
very little way. No doubt a mind of commonplace with 
eyes of romance. How should a girl belonging to such a 
house be anything but commonplace ? What had become 
of Nettie ? There was a younger sister — Victoria — but he 
remembered less of her. She was four years younger than 
Nettie. Yes, Nettie must be twenty four — about two years 
younger than himself. Very likely she was married : the 
people in these parts marry early : perhaps she had gone 
away — yet those people do not care about going away : they 
are attached to their old quarters. 

He lifted his head at this moment and looked around. 
Heavens ! The oddest, most remarkable coincidence ever 
heard of ! For at an open window, which served as a 
frame for a portrait, he saw the very girl of whom he was 
thinking. Five years, at least, since last he saw her. He 
knew her at once : it w' as Nettie Patager. She was bending 
over something — in fact, the cradle. He stopped : he 
looked : he opened the gate and stepped into the little front 
garden. She turned her head. Yes ! Nettie. There was 
no mistaking the deep-blue eyes. She saw him, and cried 
out with wonder, and ran to open the door. 

' Why, it's never John Carew, is it ? Oh, do come in, 
John Carew ! We haven't seen you for ever so long, not 
since your father went away. Do come in !' 

She gave him both her hands, and would willingly have 
kissed hiin had it been proper. 

16 



242 THE DEMONIAC 

• Nettie, of course I knew you at once. Aud is this your 
house — and your own ?' 

He looked at the cradle and its occupant. 

• It is my own house — all my own. Isn't it a nice house ? 
And my own baby. I've got another little boy, two years 
old. But he's gone out with the girl in his perambulator, 
bless him !' 

' And what is your new married name, Nettie ?' 

' My new name ? I've had it for more than three years. 
It's Humphrey. I think it a very pretty name. George 
Humphrey is my husband's name.' 

' I do not seem to remember the name, in the old time. 
Perhaps he belonged to one of the Chapel folk.' 

' Oh no, always a Churchman. But George is a new- 
comer. He doesn't belong to the place. He only came to 
live here about three years and a half ago. My husband is 
an Australian. He comes from near Melbourne. Fancy 
my marrying an Australian ! Who ever would have thought 
of such a thing ?' 

' Why not, Nettie, if he is the man of your choice ?' 

' Of course he is the man of my choice. He isn't in the 
City, you know, which went against him at first, because 
w^e are all City people here, and we like the old ways best. 
Father thinks there is no safety out of the City. A young 
man should get a berth in a good old House, he says, and 
stick to it. That's his idea. Well, there is truth in it, too. 
What father says is always sensible. So when George 
came to the house first, he didn't get much encouragement, 
and was rather looked down upon, because he is only a 
journalist, you see. And a City clerk in a good House 
naturally looks down upon a journalist.' 

' Naturally.' John Carew sat down and listened. His 
old friend talked along just as she had always done, quickly 
— as all London girls talk — lifting her eyes, those wonderful 
great eyes, deep and full, charged with mystery and unknown 
depths of thought. ' Quite naturally, Nettie.' 

' Yes. But George bore up. He has the temper of an 
angel, my husband. Nobody ever saw him put out. When 
my brother, Horatio — you remember Horatio? — was rude 
to him, and chaffed him about his flimsy and his penny-a- 
liae, he only laughed. By degrees father came round a 
bit. He could see that George was a steady young man, 



A/v oir.v HO Ml-: 344 

auJ weut off to business at regular hours. Then it was 
I'ouud out that he was making a good income — more than 
three pounds a week : and somebody told father that there 
are journalists who make as much as eight or ten pounds a 
week. So father made no further opposition. Besides, it 
was too late, because I was bent upon it by then, whatever 
anybody said. And so we were married at a registrar's, 
just to show our determination. But we went to Church 
afterwards, of course.' 

' That was a happy time, was it not?' 

' Oh r She clasped her hands. ' But it's been a happier 
time since then.' She sighed. * I often think I'm not 
sufficiently grateful. None of us are. Yet I've got the 
best husband in the world, and two of the loveliest children 
you ever saw, and a nice house, and a good income to 
spend. What more can a woman desire ?' 

' I think there is not much more to be got. Love, plenty, 
youth, health, and strong children. Do you know, Nettie, 
you have got everything that the world can give you ?' 

She laughed contentedly. Fancy one woman — and that 
woman under five-and-twenty — able to absorb all that the 
world has to give ! Eightly is woman called receptive. 

' I ought to be happy. I am happy, John.' 

' And I am very glad, indeed, to see my old friend iu such 
good case.' 

' But what are you doing, John ?' 

' I have left Cambridge. I am a Professor.' 

' Oh ! A teacher in a school ? Well, John, I am glad 
you are not too grand for us.' 

He laughed too. It is well to have one's position clearly 
understood. 

Then she went back to her husband again, as a woman, 
selfish in her own happiness, naturally does. Nettie could 
talk about George and the children all day long, and dream 
about them all the night, and never feel the least desire to 
change the subject. 

' George is not a common journalist,' she continued. 
' You must not think that. Once there was a journalist 
who took a house next door to us. I believe that it was 
his example which set father against the profession. The 
beer that used to go into that house — at all hours, too ! 
Oh ! He was a disgrace to the Eoad. Everybody was 



244 THE DEMONIAC 

glad when he weut away, though sorry for the poor wife to 
have her furniture seized for the rent. My husband is not 
Hke that man at all. To begin with, he has been a most 
wonderful traveller : he has been all round the world — 
think of that ! And he knows French and German : he can 
quote Latin and Greek : and look at all his books !' 

John Carew got up instantly, and began to examine the 
books. A very good collection, so far as five or six hundred 
volumes go. This man knew what reading meant. 

' And you may start any subject you please, and you will 
find that he knows all about it.' John began to think that 
the man must be of the self-made, self-assertive, ostenta- 
tiously superior kind. ' Sometimes the Curate looks in of 
an evening, and they argue. The Curate always pretends to 
have got the best of it. But I know. It's my husband's 
kindness. And as for writing, why, he can write anything. 
He writes the leaders every week in the Clerkland Observer : 
he sends descriptive articles to the magazines, and they are 
taken : he can write poetry : he can write tales, too. Once 
he wrote a most beautiful story, all about a man who was 
in love with a girl. But he found out that he had an 
hereditary disease ; and he had to behave cruel to her, so 
as to break it off without her being blamed. And so he 
went away ' 

' And died of a broken heart ?' 

' No. In the story he went to live among poor people, 
and married a poor girl, and she made him happy in spite 
of the hereditary disease. When he is hard up for a sub- 
ject, he opens his note-book, and writes out an account of 
some island he has been to, and sends that to a journal. 
As for money, we are getting on famously. We have every- 
thing we want ; and we are saving, I can tell you. There's 
baby waking up !' 

In fact, the youthful Humphrey gave the usual evidence 
of a return to consciousness. His mother shook him up, 
after the manner of the fond mother, and administered the 
bottle. 

' It's half-past twelve,' Nettie went on. ' This is one of 
the days when my husband comes home to dinner. He will 
be home by one. Will you stay and have some dinner with 
us ? Do, John, for old times' sake ! There's plenty and to 
spare. If there is one thing that we are extravagant in, it's 



MY Oir.V HOME 245 

housekeeping. Aiother holds up her hands, only to think of 
the butcher's bill. But then, I tell her, she hasn't got a 
man to provide a dinner for. Wliat does she want with a 
big butcher's bill? When we girls were at home, it was a 
bloater oue day and an egg another day, or a slice of bacon, 
or a tin of Australian tongue, cold — and good enough, too. 
And even father is content with a shilling for his dinner : 
says that to spend more than a shilling on a meal is sinful 
waste and gluttony, in one who is a clerk. But George is 
that kind of man who is not happy if there is not plenty. 
It's the Australian in him, I suppose. So it's only the prime 
joints that content him ; and — I will say this for him — he 
has as noble an appetite as ever blessed a man. Then you 
will stay, John ? It's a lovely steak — a picture — it is indeed. 
I am going to see about it at once. That's kind now — you 
will stay.' 

She left the baby under his eye, and ran away. Pre- 
sently he began to discover the fragrance of this unrivalled 
steak as it hissed under the influence of the clear fire in the 
kitchen below. Nettie was not too proud, he observed, to 
assist in cooking her husband's dinner. By this time he 
had made up his mind concerning this unique specimen of 
the Journalist — the complete and Perfect Journalist. He 
was young, pasty-faced, undersized, conceited, self-assertive, 
and underbred. He thought of the poor girl's enthusiasm 
with a kind of pity. How good for a woman thus to nourish 
illusions concerning her husband ! Since one cannot get 
rid of a husband, better never to know or suspect the truth 
about him. John knew the sheet, the Clerkland Observer. 
You see, it existed in the time of his residence. He re- 
membered the character of its leading articles, and drew an 
infei'ence — hasty and without sufficient foundation — as to 
the kind of man who would write those articles. Pasty- 
faced, undersized, underbred, self-taught, and conceited. 
And Nettie believed that he was a great scholar and a great 
genius ! 

The clock on the mantelshelf sti'uck one. Precisely to 
the moment John heard a manly footstep outside. Then a 
rushing footstep — it was the wife flying upstairs to greet her 
husband. 

' George, we have got a visitor — an old friend. Come 
in ' 



24^ THE DEMONIAC 

The door opened and the Perfect Journahst appeared 
John Carew caught his breath with astonishment. Pasty- 
faced ? Undersized V 

Why, the man was a giant — tall, broad, rosy-cheeked, 
handsome as Phoebus Apollo. Underbred? 

He advanced with the best air in the world. 

' Any old friend of my wife is welcome,' he said, holding 
out an immense paw. 

' This is John Carew, my dear,' said his wdfe. ' He was 
son of our last vicar. Father was churchwarden. We often 
used to go to the vicarage to tea in the old days.' 

' Well, Mr. Carew,' said the husband, ' I am glad to see 
you.' 

' The vicar went away to another church ' 

' My father took a country living,' John explained. He 
could not take his eyes off this man, so big, so handsome, 
so totally unexpected. Besides, he had an uneasy feeling 
that 

' — And so we have never met until to-day, when John saw 
me by accident.' 

' I have been at school and at Cambridge,' John explained 
again. ' When one gets among other sets and in other 
places ' The uneasiness grew stronger. 

' Yes,' said the Journalist. ' What was your College ?' 

' Christ's.' 

He was now quite sure that he had seen that face before, 
somewhere. 

' Ah !' He changed colour slightly. ' What year did you 
go up?' 

' In eighty-four. ' 

When John went away, he thought it was rather odd 
that an Australian journalist should ask these questions. 
When one young man puts them to another, it generally 
argues some acquaintance with the University. 

' Eighty-four. Oh ! Yes. Eighty-four. That was 
after ' He checked himself. 

Then they went down to dinner. John observed, first, 
that husband and wife drank water ; that is not so unusual 
in these days : he next i*emarked that there was an obser- 
vance of dinner forms, simple enough, but not customary in 
households of Arcadia or Clerkland, where there is only one 
real dinner a week. The napkins, the table linen, the serving 



MY OWN HOME 247 

of the dinner by the single maid, showed an appreciation of 
dinner as a ceremony or act of worship. 

' George is particular about his dinner,' said his wife. 
'At home we used to have it pretty much anyhow, except 
on Sundays. George likes it properly laid and served. 
Well — I must say that he has made me like it so, though 
mother would never give in to it.' 

George volunteered no explanation of this singular taste. 
By this time, however, John had discovered that the man 
was a gentleman. Clearly, a gentleman. At every point 
of him, a gentleman. How came such a man as this to 
be so low down in the world ? — assistant-editor to a little 
suburban local paper, living by chance contributions here 
and there. 

' I hear that you are an Australian, Mr. Humphrey,' he 
said presently. 

'An Australian,' replied his host shortly, and in a voice 
which encouraged no more inquiry in that direction. 

Then they began to talk about the topics of the day. 
This Australian talked well : there was not the least self- 
assertion : he was not conceited : he was not half informed : 
and he did not talk the day before yesterday's leading article 
of his favourite paper. Now, if one listens in a suburban 
railway carriage where the people talk to each other, you 
will observe, provided you are properly posted in the litera- 
ture of the Ephemerides, that the opinions exchanged, 
offered or confirmed on the subjects of the day are those of 
the day before yesterday's Standard or the day before yes- 
terday's Dailij News, according to the politics of the speaker. 
This man, because he was an Australian, probably, talked as 
one who has taken the trouble to get at the facts from his 
newspaper and to draw the deductions for himself. 

When the early dinner was finished, John Carew felt that 
he had met an intellectual equal, and, in knowledge of men 
and manners, a superior. But the College Don rarely has 
an opportunity of acquiring much knowledge of men and 
manners. 

' Will you come to see me ?' he said. ' I live in chambers. 

If you would dine with me at the Savile ' 

' Thank you very much,' Mr. Humphrey replied. ' But I 
do not belong to Club life or to West-End life at all.' 
' That is the reason ' 



248 THE DEMONIAC 

'Pardon me. You are very kind — but I live here,' he 
Bpoke decisively. ' You, who know this part of the world ' 

' Yes, yes ' — for the speaker left the sentence unfinished — 
' I know — well. But if Nettie — forgive me, we always used 
to call each other and to think of each other by our Christian 
names — and you would come to my chambers alone, some 
evening — if it is only to carry on this talk ' 

' Do, George,' said his wife. ' We go out so seldom — 
never anywhere, except to mother's. I should like to go, 
and John is such an old friend !' 

' Very well, my dear, if you like it. Mr. Carew, one con- 
dition, please. We will gladly accept your invitation — if 
you will allow us to find you alone.' 

John Carew went home thoughtful. To begin with, here 
was a very remarkable man — in any circle he would be re- 
markable : he was nothing but a small suburban journalist. 
Now, such a man generally begins with being a reporter : he 
writes shorthand : he attends local functions, inquests — he 
is great in inquests : he portrays the local news : he is 
acquainted with all the local tradesmen : he is influential 
in getting advertisements : but he is not a gentleman, a 
traveller, and a scholar. 

Had he done something, to get so low down? 

On the other hand, why should he do anything ? Suppose, 
which was probable, that he had come over here to seek his 
fortune and had been compelled by poverty to take what he 
could get ? He might very well not be eager to be intro- 
duced to the literary circle of the Savile Club as the assist- 
ant-editor of a suburban paper. A man must get up the 
ladder somehow or other; there is no dishonour in any 
honest way : but some of the lower rungs are rather better, 
to look at, than others. 

Nettie had done very well. Her large and lustrous eyes — 
he remembered them when she was only a little girl — had 
brought to her feet that Prince of whom every girl dreams 
but few girls get — a man strong, capable, well-taught, well- 
bred, affectionate and constant. Happy Nettie ! Thrice 
happy Nettie ! 

But — after all— how came such a man in such a place ? 

He went to bed that night haunted with a sense of incon- 
gruity. What had such a man to do in such a place? 
What brought him there? And he remembered the man's 



MY OWN HOME 249 

face — very odd thing : he remembered the face quite well 
— that is, part of the face, not all of it — quite well and 
clearly he remembered it. Where had he seen it ? It was 
one of those horrid half-memories which disturb and irritate 
one, because the other half will not come back. He tried, 
but in vain, to remember the voice, the shoulders, the big 
burly form, the great hands, the whole appearance of tlie 
man. He could not. It was only the face that seemed to 
haunt him. 

A trick of the brain ! How should he ever forget this 
splendid man if he had ever met him ? It was impossible. 
One might as well try to forget some hero of romance : one 
might as well forget Don Quixote — Colonel Newcome — She. 
A trick of the brain — nothing but a trick of the brain ! 



CHAPTEE XI. 

THE KECLUSE. 

The visit to John Carew's room was duly made, and the 
condition observed. No one except the tenant of the rooms 
was there to meet this suburban journalist of retiring dis- 
position. 

Everybody knows the kind of nest — luxurious, well 
furnished, aesthetic to a certain point, but with a kind of 
severity — which the young Cambridge Don makes for him- 
self and transports with him when he leaves his College. 
The rooms were a flat — young men who are Professors no 
longer live in grimy chambers. There were two sitting- 
rooms, both of them filled with books, but one having its 
books only half-way up the wall, so as to leave space for 
engravings hanging above. Great feeling was displayed in 
the selection of chairs : in such rooms there should be no 
two exactly alike ; as there are diversities in length of limb, 
so should there be diversities in depth and width and 
height of the chairs. In a more advanced state of civiliza- 
tion these points will be observed, even in dining-rooms. 
There was no foolishness of fashion : smaller people may 
put up peacock's feathers one year, and blue china the 
next ; a young Professor must rise to the level that is above 



250 



THE DEMONIAC 



fashion, and remain there. There were also a good many 
' nice things,' chiefly gathered round about the shores of the 
Mediterranean or the sandy banks of the Upper Nile. 

The Professor observed when George Humphrey came into 
the room that he looked about him with the eyes of one 
who knows such rooms, and while Nettie cried out for the 
beautv of the furniture, he began to go round among the 
book-shelves, reading the titles and taking out the volumes 
to look at the edition or the binding, or to refresh his eyes 
with the mere sight of the text, like one to the manner 
born. John Carew was not only curious about this remark- 
able journalist, but he was also by nature observant. 

' This fellow,' he thought, ' is not self-made, whatever 
else he is. That is abundantly clear ; no self-made man 
could handle a book like that.' 

An observation which shows that the young Professor 
may yet become a novelist. Because, you see, the self-made 
man reveals his selfish training, to those who have eyes to 
see, by his manner of handhng the tools of training. What 
is the difference? It is hard to say. The man who has 
educated himself knows the value of books as much as the 
man who ' makes ' himself knows the value of money : he 
respects them and loves them as much as one who has been 
schooled and taught from childhood up ; yet he cannot 
handle them with the same appearance of affection. It is 
their contents that he values. He is as one who loves 
humanity for its virtues and its possibilities : the scholar 
is as one who loves humanity for the same reason, but 
delights to see his humans clothed daintily and behaving 
with grace. Now, this Australian journalist showed the 
scholar's handling. 

They talked of many things. Their talk lasted till ten at 
night. John Carew discovered that of quite recent books 
his new acquaintance knew nothing at all ; but of older 
books, say six years old at least, he knew and had read 
everything that men do read and talk about— the books of 
Darwin — of Herbert Spencer — the novels down to the year 
1885 or thereabouts— the poets down to that year— there 
has not been much poetry since. It was as if for some 
reason or other he had ceased to read about that year. 

' I have read nothing of late,' said George, when he had 
betrayed complete ignorance of what had recently been 



THE RECLUSE 251 

written and said upon a certain subject. ' It is now nearly 
six years since I quite left off reading.' 

' Keally ? Quite left off reading ?' 

' I was travelling about the world, sailing among the 
islands of the Pacilic, and so was out of the way of books. 
When the wander years were over, and there was no more 
money left, one had to get work somehow — any work that 
offered. The work that came to me was — what you know. 
There are no libraries, no new books, no new magazines, 
and nobody to talk about books in my quarter.' 

' I should have thought that you would have returned 
with an insatiable thirst for books.' 

' No. When you have to cadge around for the day's 
dinner, there is not much thirst left for anything else. 
Besides, one easily forgets those tastes ; one grows lethargic : 
in your company some of the old enthusiasms may flash up. 
Mostly, however, they are dead and gone.' 

He spoke with a touch of sadness in his voice. 

' They can easily be revived,' said the Professor. ' Surely, 
surely, a year or two of uncongenial work cannot have 
destroyed the fine taste, the scholarly instincts, the scholar- 
ship itself. Why, you betray these things in every word 
you utter !' 

'Only the smouldering fires — they are nearly destroyed.' 

' Then leave these lower levels and let those iires revive.' 

Nettie heard this talk with bewilderment. She under- 
stood in a vague way that John Carew, of whose actual 
position she had but vague ideas, w"as urging her husband 
to leave low levels — low levels ? — and go up higher. 

' I must stay where I am,' said George. ' It is the com- 
pulsion of necessity — force majeure — the hand of Fate.' 

' No, no ; there can be no such compulsion,' the Pro- 
fessor persisted. ' A man like you can command better 
work. It is a shame that you should be giving yourself 
away to a trumpery local rag. You ought to be on the 
staff of a great paper. A man with so mi;ch knowledge of 
men and manners, books and history, w^ould be invaluable. 
You ought to be making your thousand a year at least.' 

' Oh, George !' said his wife. ' A thousand a year?' 

' You cannot sit down contented with your present 
work.' 

' I don't know,' George replied. ' Perhaps I can do no 



352 THE DEMONIAC 

better. Being where I am, and making enough for actual 
wants, why should I worry ?' 

' Oh ! but to stick down there ' 

'It seems rather cowardly, doesn't it? But I don't 
know. You see, in our fortunate quarter a certain happi- 
ness, not of a very high standard, reigns in all hearts. If I 
should emerge, we might lose this happiness.' 

The Professor laughed scornfully. 

' Shall we exchange the substance for the shadow ?' 
George went on. ' In the higher levels there is no content- 
ment, but every man fighting for more and the standard 
going up, and up, until nothing less than the best of every- 
thing satisfies anybody.' 

' You are not serious ?' 

' I am serious in this ; that I mean to remain where I 
am. As for getting better work, that may come subject to 
the condition of remaining where I am. You don't wish to 
leave your native quarter, Nettie ? We will stay where we 
are — alone, and contented with our own company.' 

' I would rather stay where we are,' said Nettie. ' But 
I should like you to get work better suited to your genius, 
George. And I should like to see a little more of the world 
than we do.' 

The Professor clearly perceived that, for some reason or 
other, this man intended to remain in obscurity. I regret 
to say that, like certain members of Nettie's family, he 
began to suspect some reason of the baser kind for this 
desire. It was absurd that a man still under thirty — so 
well educated, so well read, apparently so well bred — should 
desire the obscurity of such a life. Well, for Nettie's sake, 
he hoped that it was nothing shameful that remained to be 
found out. 

When the visitors w^ent away, John Carew began to con- 
sider what, if anything, could be done for this man. Those 
who write for daily papers must be on the spot — in the 
oflfice — every day : they must see and consult the Editor. 
But there are certain weekly papers where this is not 
necessary. Many men write for these papers from the 
country. He knew a certain Editor. To him he confided 
the fact that he had found that rare creature, the retreating 
modest genius who desires nothing but to hide his head 
away from the haunts of men. There have been known 



THE RECLUSE 253 

such cases. The Editor, interested, undertook to consider 
anything that this unknown genius sliould send him. Then 
John Carew went again to Dat'tbdil Koad, and had another 
talk. 

' Think,' he said. ' No one asks you to stir from this 
hermitage. No one will want to see you — all you have to 
do is to furnish an article in the stylo suited to the paper 
on a subject that may interest the readers. Will you try ? 
It is certainly a long step above the local paper.' 

George hesitated. 

' I have ventured to interfere with your affairs,' said 
John, ' for the sake of my old friendship with your wife. 
That is my only excuse. I see that you desire, for reasons 
of your own, to remain in obscurity. I do not ask those 
reasons — only for your wife's sake ' 

'You are very good. Yes — thank you — I will have a 
shot at this paper. If I succeed, I am not bound or tied 
down by any times or hours ?' 

' None. But there is a good deal of work to be got on 
such a paper — review work, politics, social articles. You 
might succeed in getting so firm a footing on the paper that 
the Editor would look for you as a regular contributor.' 

A week later George had the pleasure of seeing a paper 
by himself occupying a place of honour in small print and 
in the middle. In the course of the next two months he 
contributed half a dozen papers. Then, owing to certain 
events which happened unexpectedly, this profitable and 
honourable connection was broken off altogether, and now 
I do not think it will ever be resumed. 

The two men saw a great deal of each other during this 
season. They became as intimate as is possible where one 
man keeps an obstinate silence about his own people and 
his early history. One resents this reticence — except, per- 
haps, in the case of a man whose people have been hanged, 
or who has himself spent a term of years at Dartmoor. 
We do not ask for confidence exactly ; but we do not like 
concealment. Such men may make plenty of acquaintances ; 
but of friends, few. Besides, why hide the fact of poor re- 
lations ? They are a nuisance to the man himself, particu- 
larly if they want to borrow his money or be asked to his 
dinners ; but they are not a nuisance to his friends. Not at 
all. His friends rather like to tell how the man has one 



254 



THE DEMONIAC 



cousin who keeps a lodging-house, and another who is matron 
at a school. George Humphrey said nothing more about 
either himself or his antecedents. He was an Australian, 
from Melbourne— so his wife said : he had travelled and 
spent all his money, and so was obliged to do what work he 
could get — so he himself had confessed. What John Carew 
himself perceived in addition to this was, that he was a man 
of culture, education, and good breeding. In accepting his 
journalistic work, in marrying Nettie Patager, he had come 
down in the world. Had he done something? Had he 
gone under because he must ? Perhaps. Poor Nettie ! 
Best not to inquire further, lest ugly things should be dis- 
covered and present happiness be destroyed. 

In this way May passed into June, June into July, and 
the two months' interval of virtue and temperance drew 
towards its close. 

' If you will come to-morrow evening,' said the Professor 
one night, ' I will find the book and look out the passage for 
you ; I think it will clear up the point.' 

' To-morrow will do perfectly well,' said George. ' I will 
turn up about eight o'clock.' 

' My dear,' said Nettie. ' Pray do not make any engage- 
ments after to-morrow. Eemember, it is your Boston week.' 

George changed colour. He grew red, and then pale. 

' I had almost forgotten,' he said. ' Well, for to-morrow 
evening, at least, I am free. The day after I may have to go 
away on business.' 

' He has business that takes him to Boston once every 
two months.' 

' Boston ?' asked the Professor. ' I thought that Boston 
was extinct, dead and gone — I had an idea that it died in 
giving birth to the new Boston. There can be but one 
Boston.' 

' Oh !' said George, ' the old Boston lives still. There is a 
good deal of business in a quiet way at Boston. Mine is 
business which, as it happens, no one can manage except 
myself. I don't like it — I find it a great nuisance going 
away for two or three days. It is an interruption. Still, if 

it brings in money And we cannot afford to give up 

regular work, can we, Nettie ?' 

' I hate it,' said his wife. ' It takes him away from me : 
it worries him beforehand : I can see him thinking about it : 



THE RECLUSE 255 

he gets fidgety sometimes, days before the time : and some- 
times he comes back looliing so pale and shaky that it is 
evident how hard thoy work him. I behove he works all 
day and all night.' 

' All night, sometimes,' said George, with a smile. 

* Can't you give it up?' said the Professor. ' Will not the 
new work take its place ?' 

' I cannot possibly give it up. I am under no positive 
engagement ; but yet I must not give it up. It is, I confess, 
a great trouble and interruption, and the work — the work — 

is uncongenial — and in many ways it is . . . sometimes ' 

He lost command of himself for the moment. ' It is in- 
tolerable ; but it can't be given up.' 

His face clouded over. Conversation was stopped. The 
Professor said ' Good-night.' 

' George dear ' — Nettie twined her hands round his arm 
— ' you were angry to-night about this Boston business. 
Why do you let it worry you ? Give it up, dear — we can 
make plenty of money without it. Oh ! I have always hated 
it more and more, and now I can't bear to see you going ofif 
with that horrid man, looking miserable when you start, 
and coming home pale and shaken. I am always thinking 
about it. Can't you give it up ?' 

' No, dear, I can never give it up. Never — now. I might, 
perhaps, if I had had the courage five years ago.' He 
dropped his voice. ' But now — never, my dear. Let us 
make the best of it.' 

' And wuth such a man ! I hate the sight of Mr. Mavis. 
He looks like a worm, with his white smooth face and his 
down-dropped eyes. A man who cannot even look you in 
the face. Give it up, dear. Think of what John Carew 
keeps on saying, and give it up.' 

He kissed her sadly ; but made no reply. 

' Business in Boston !' said John Carew to himself on the 
way home. ' Business in Boston every two months, for 
a literary man — wonderful ! Business w^hich makes him 
wretched before, and shaky after it. Business which he 
cannot possibly give up. Now, if I were in the Gaboriau 
line, I would go to Boston and find out what could be the 
business which takes a journalist there once in two months. 
This is the secret of Mr. George Humphrey's retreat to the 
back seat of suburban iouruahsm. Tliia is the skeleton iu 



356 THE DEMONIAC 

the cupboard. Business in Boston — why does he say Boston? 
I don't beheve he goes to Boston. Yet business of some 
kind — of a regular kind — of an unpleasant kind — and of a 
kind which must be done. I think it would not be difficult 
to find out where his business lies, and of what kind it is. 
Any man may be watched— such a big man would find it 
very difficult to escape detection. Yet — no, Nettie — though 
I should hke to discover the mystery, for your sake, my old 
friend — I will not seek to disturb your happiness.' 



CHAPTEE XII. 

HE IS ALIVE. 

In the morning, among the letters, John Carew found on his 
table one from Elinor Thanet. It reminded him of a task 
laid upon him, in which he had as yet taken no steps at all. 
In fact, it was a task which he proposed to shirk, because 
he had no great desire that the young lady's lost lover should 
be traced. To find him might mean the awakening of old 
emotions. He would rather wait, watch, and be patient 
until the day, now certainly not far distant, when she should 
herself own that the time had come when she might con- 
sider herself free. 

The letter gave him a disagreeable reminder of neglected 
duty. 

' My dear fkiend (she wrote), 

' I once asked you to help me in finding that long- 
ost lover of mine. I do not know if you have made any 
attempt, or if you have met with any success in your search. 
But you would have told me if you had. Now I have some- 
thing for you to go upon. He is in this country. He has 
quite lately been at Brighton : he may be there now. He 
was at Brighton, in fact, three days ago. A letter has been 
received from him, in his own handwriting, which is un- 
mistakable. I enclose a copy of it. The cheque which it 
enclosed has been honoured, as he directs, by his agents. 
We have all felt the greatest relief to learn that George is 
really living. We now hope to find out very soon where he 



HE IS ALIVE 257 

is, and why he went away, and what he has been doing all 
this time. "The Mystery of George x\thehng " might be a 
title for a shilling shocker. I am now wiser than I was 
when he deserted me. Things which would have then ap- 
peared to my inexperienced eyes impossible, now seem pro- 
bible, because they are common. I believe, indeed, that he 
left me because he had fallen in love with somebody else. 
Farther than this I cannot get. For if he had married that 
other girl, he would have wanted money to maintain her. 
But he has drawn no money for three years. All his money 
has been accumulating. This cheque is the only one that 
has been drawn : it is for a large amount ; but then, I sup- 
pose, it represents the cxpc^nditure of three years. I put all 
kinds of suppositious before myself. I suppose that he may 
have been in some madhouse, or he may have been wander- 
ing in some \vild and distant country ; but I cannot tell 
what to think. Give me, if you can, a little of your thought. 
Advise me. And find my old fi lend for me. 

' Yours very sincerely, 

• Elinoe.' 

John Carew read this letter with satisfaction. She had 
no longer any love for this old friend of hers. That was 
plain. Well, what was he to do ? 

The letter enclosed was very plain and simple : 

' Gentlemen, 

' Will you pay to the account of Mr. Joseph Mavis, 
Union Bank of London, Tottenham Branch, the sum of five 
thousand pounds, for which I enclose a cheque on my own 
bank? 

' Yours very truly, 

' G. H. Atheling.' 

The letter was, of course, only a copy. The address given 
was at a Brighton hotel, and not one of the best. And 
though the letter was dated three or four days back, the 
cheque was dated at the end of May. 

He began the search at once. First, he went to the 
lawyers — Mr. Atheling's agents. He found that they had 
carried out the instructions. The money had been paid to 
the account of one Joseph Mavis, at Tottenham. 

17 



258 THE DEMONIAC 

' Who is Joseph Mavis ?' asked the Professor. 

' He is described as a gentleman living in the neighbour- 
hood.' 

' It seems very mysterious. Have you sent down to 
Brighton ?' 

' We have written, but have as yet received no answer.' 

' Should you feel justified in advertising for Mr. Athel- 
ing?' 

The lawyer hesitated. 

' It is doubtful, as yet, whether we should. Let us first 
wait for the answer to our letter. We wrote to ask for an 
appointment.' 

' You ought to have had an answer before this. Stay, it 
is now half-past ten. I will catch the next train to Brighton, 
and will go myself for an answer.' 

The hotel named in the letter was one of those small 
places in the upper and less attractive parts of the town, 
called Somebody's Arms. A house of call for local trades- 
men, rather than a place for a gentleman to put up. John 
Carew went in and asked for Mr. Atheling. There was no 
one of that name in the hotel. A letter for a gentleman of 
that name was waiting in the rack. 

' But,' said John, ' we have a letter from Mr. George 
Atheling giving the address of this hotel.' 

This fact nobody ventured to explain. 

' Has anybody at all been staying here lately ?' 

' There was a gentleman,' said the chambermaid — ' he 
was here a week, and went away three days ago. Mr. 
Mavis, his name was.' 

' Mr. Joseph Mavis ?' 

' I don't know, sir. He did not leave his Christian 
name.' 

This was an important fact, however. No Atheling had 
been there at all. But one Mavis had ; and Mavis, there- 
fore, to whom the money was payable, had posted, and 
probably dated, the letter of instructions. Atheling, mean- 
time, who had drawn the cheque two months before, was 
not with him. Yet the letter of instructions addressed at 
this hotel was dated three days before. 

John Carew came back to town with this news. 

' Now,' he said, summing up, ' this man writes a letter — 
the handwriting is, you say, undoubtedly his own. Another 



HE IS ALIVE 259 

man puts an address and a date to it. The address is false, 
and so is the date, because the cheque is dated two mouths 
before. Where is the man who wrote the letter and drew 
the cheque? Why was the false address given ? Who and 
what IS the man named Mavis V 

' Tliat we can find out very easily, I cake it.' 

' Have we not gone far enough to advertise ? There is 
nothing like an advertisement. Advertise in all the papers 
simultaneously. Do this hrst, while you go on hndiug out 
who this man Mavis is. Are there any distinctive features 
by which Atheling can be recognised ?' 

' Well, yes ; he is the kind of man who could be described 
so that recognition would be certain.' 

' Let us offer a reward, then — a good big reward^a 
hundred pounds reward — for such information as will lead 
to his discovery. The papers are sure to take it up : within 
four-and-twenty hours the whole country will be on the 
look-out for the man.' 

This arranged, John Carew could do uo more. He wrote 
to Elinor and reported what he had done. 

It was by this time evening, and his friend, George 
Humphrey, was to call in an hour or two. He took a hasty 
dinner at the Club and hurried back to his rooms. 

The talk flagged. George Humphrey was gloomy ; the 
other man was occupied with the dihiculties of the situa- 
tion. 

' I must tell you,' he said at last. ' I can think of nothing 
else.' 

' What is it ?' 

' I am trying to discover a man who has vanished ; and I 
fear there has been villainy.' 

' x\ man who has vanished ? Who is the man ?' 

' He is a man ; his name matters nothing, yet it will be 
in all the papers to-morrow. His name is Atheling — 
George Atheling.' 

He was so much interested in his story that he did not 
observe the sudden change in his companion's face. 

' Atheling,' George repeated. 

' This is the story. He was engaged to a young lady — 
then almost a girl. He was a wealthy man. He had every- 
thing that any man can hope to nave. He was yoaug, 



26o THE DEMONIAC 

rich, healthy, strong, highly cultivated, and with a great 
future before him. Yet he disappeared suddenly.' 

'Why?' 

' Nobody knows.' 

' Nobody ? Did not the girl herself ever tell why he went 
away ?' 

' She never knew : she could not so much as guess. He 
vanished, that is all we know. It was discovered that two 
years later he drew some money. Then he vanished again, 
and this time altogether.' 

' Were not any of his companions found to tell where he 
had been ?' 

' No public inquiry was ever made, and no search insti- 
tuted ; therefore, we don't even know who his companions 
were.' 

' But the girl : did he not write to the girl ? Surely he 
must have written one letter — just one — only to explain. 
Men don't leave girls suddenly without some sort of an 
explanation.' 

' He made none.' 

' Oh 1' 

George looked surprised, as if he knew something. That 
is to say, John Carew remembered aftenuards, too late, this 
look of surprise. 

' It appears, you see, that the girl and her lover had some 
kind of a quarrel. She told him he was not himself — he 
was changed somehow — it may have been nothing — a fib of 
indigestion. She bade him go away, and not come back 
till he could recover his lost self. So he went. But she 
added, most unfortunately for herself, that she should con- 
tinue to remain bound to him till he should, when returned 
to his right mind, release her. And she continues to con- 
sider herself bound to him to this day.' 

' Oh ! But this is pure absurdity.' 

' As I tell her. Such, however, is the fact. Now comes 
the important thing. We have at last discovered that he is 
btill alive, or that he was alive a month or two ago.' 

* Indeed ? How ? Has he been seen ?' 

' No. His lawyer, however, received, two or three days 
ago, a letter from him.' 

' From him?' 

' From him. Unmistakably in his handwriting. It was 



HE IS ALIVE 261 

dated from a small hotel at Brighton. It contained a lar^^e 
cheque, and it ordered the lawyers to pay this into a certain 
account.' 

' Oh ! this is very mysterious !' George was now enter- 
ing thoronglily into the mystery of the situation. ' Very 
strange and interesting indeed ! He wrote from Brighton ?' 

' Yes ; hut the cheque was dated some weeks before the 
letter. His instructions have been carried out, and the 
young lady has been informed that her former lover is still 
living. Slie asked me 10 assis-t in finding him. I went 
down to Brighton, and found that the man had never been 
at the hotel at all, unless he was there under a falsa 
name.' 

' You are sure that there was a cheque ?' 

'Yes.' 

' For how much ?' 

' It was a large cheque. For five thousand pounds.' 

• For five thousand pounds ? The letter and the cheque 
were both in his handwriting ? You are sure of this ?' 

' The lawyers w^ere quite sure upon the point. "What do 
you think ? That a crime of some kmd has been com- 
mitted ?' 

' A crime — of some kind,' he replied. 

He shivered : he turned pale : he remained in silence for 
awhile. 

The other man thought he was turning the problem over 
in his own mind. 

' I suppose,' he said, ' that there will now be more cheques 
drawn, and continually more.' 

' The man may spend his own money as he pleases. Can 
he not ?' 

' Certainly — oh ! certainly. Well, it w^ill last a good 
while ; that is one comfort.' 

' Yes ; it will take a good many cheques to exhaust that 
little pile. What did you say you propose to do ? You 
have formed some plan '?' 

* We must find him, wherever he is. That seems a clear 
duty.' 

' You think so ?' 

' Certainly — we must find him. At present it looks as if 
he might be in somebody's power. He signs a cheque for a 
very large sum ; he writes a letter which he neither addresses 



262 THE DEMONIAC 

nor dates. Perhaps he is all the time miserably locked up 
in a madhonse, in the hands of some villain ; but we know 
nothing. It is a mystery which must be cleared up. 
Eemember, he is rich. Those who have him in their power 
may mean to keep him until they can get the last farthing 
out of him. He has friends who have not forgotten him, 
and he has heirs who are interested in seeing that his 
estates are not robbed. You are a man of the world, 
Humphrey ; can you suggest anything ?' 

' I should like to know your own ideas first.' 
' I think we should advertise. We should advertise a 
description of the man as he looked when he was last seen, 
how he was dressed, colour of his eyes and hair, size and 
shape of him, any marks — and so forth.' 

' Do you yourself know what he is like ? Have you a 
description of him ?' 

' No. But the lawyer-people at the office say that they 
can describe him so that it would be perfectly easy to find 
him. They were doubtful about it at first, because, you 
see, it is rather an awkward thing to advertise for your 
clients ; but this discovery, that he has never been to 
Brighton at all, and that the letter was wrongly addressed 
and dated, has frightened them, and they now seem ready 
to go on until they find out. What do you think?' 

' I think,' said George, rising, * that you are quite certain 
to find out where he is if you do advertise — and that before 
many hours. But instead of advertising, I should, if I 
were you, do nothing at all. Consider : he has written a 
letter to his lawyer. This may prove his intention of letting 
it be known that he is, at least, alive. If he is a wise man, 
he will, from time to time, let his former friends and his 
agents know that he is living. But when a man voluntarily 
goes away and disappears, there must be reasons — good 
reasons. This man would seem to have drawn no money. 
The conclusions that may be drawn from this fact are many. 
One is quite clear : he does not wish his new way of life to 
be known. The man, you say, is a gentleman. Why not 
respect his wishes — certainly the harmless wishes — of this 
gentleman ?' 

Some men might have suspected the truth. There are 
not so many gentlemen and scholars in the lower walks. 
But John Carew had so made up his mind that this man 



HE IS ALIIE 263 

was an Australian, that he did not suspect. What ho did 
arrive at, however, was something very near tlie trutli. 

' Humphrey,' he said, ' you speak from j-our own experi- 
ence. I have long suspected this. You have yourself 
broken with your friends in Australia. You no longer 
communicate with your own people. You have chosen to 
disappear.' 

' For very good reasons, perhaps the very same reasons 
as those which drove that other man out of sight. Yes, 
you are quite right. I need not ask you to respect my 
secret. But, since you are willing to understand my posi- 
tion, can you not also understand that the other man's may 
be exactly the same — complicated by the addition of this 
great fortune, which he may be unwilling to assume again 
either for himself or for his family ?' 

' Yes, I see. I will think it over. After all, if we can 
only get tidings of his welfare, and assurance that he is a 
free agent, that should be enough.' 

' I think it should be enough. A discovery might — it is 
conceivable — do him a very serious injury. For instance — 
take my case — your surmise is quite correct ; I have cousins 
here in England, in a very good position. It would not 
please them to find me where and what I am — nor would 
it make my wife and the children, when they grow up, any 
the happier for knowing where they might have been — but 
for reasons. Y''ou know the motto of the Courtenays — Ubi 
lapsus ? — very bad Latin. It should be mine. It may be 
Atheliug's.' 

' Yes, I think that we have been, perhaps, too hasty. I 
will try to stop that advertisement at once.' 

In fact, he did try. Unfortunately, he was too late. 

' Let me see you again soon. Can we meet to-morrow, 
or next day? In such a case as this, a third person — a 
totally uninterested person like yourself ' 

' Y''es,' said George calmly. 

' — May be of the greatest service.' 

' Unfortunately,' George replied, ' I am engaged for two 
or three days ahead. I must go out of town. I have, as 
you heard yesterday, business — business at Boston.' 

Next day, Elinor received a letter, without any address, 
which bore the post-mark of ' Kensington ' — a good central 
post-mark. She knew the writing. 



264 THE DEMONIAC 

' At last !' she cried, and tore open the letter. 

' My dear Elinoe, — Five years ago I wrote a letter, in 
whicli I told you exactly the reasons ^\hy I had changed so 
greatly in two or three months. I did not bind you to 
secrecy; but so far as I have been able to learn, you have 
kept these reasons a secret. I expected some reply ; but 
after waiting some time, I concluded that I should have 
none. As an opportunity now occurs to write to you again, 
and as I have learned that you are still unmarried — if that 
fact has any connection with me, I most earnestly beg that 
it may at once cease. My letter, indeed, gave you your 
release freely, and from that moment. I cannot believe 
that you could misunderstand it. 

' I remain always, with friendly and affectionate 
memories, 

' Your old friend, 

' G. A.' 

' At last he has written !' said Elinor. ' It is hi-s hand- 
writing — it was written yesterday'. But he tells me nothing. 
Well, I am free. Of course, I was free before, whenever I 
pleased. And I think I am pleased now. I have had my 
freedom long enough. "What does he mean about a former 
letter ? Oh ! he is mad. I believe he was mad then. I 
believe he has been mad ever since. George must have 
been locked up in some foreign madhouse.' 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

BUSINESS AT BOSTON. 

Geokge Humphrey sat with his wife in the little slip of a 
garden behind the toy villa. It was blossoming as finely as 
if it belonged to a great house. Allow for certain well- 
defined limitations of the London air, and you may make a 
suburban garden bright with flowers through all the leafy 
months from May to October. Lilies, nasturtium, migno- 
nette, convolvulus, green peas, scarlet runners, giant holly- 
hocks, sunflowers, the tobacco plant, the blue lobelia, hardy 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON 265 

annuals by tho hundred, will adorn your narrow bit of 
ground. 

The children were in bed : the sun had gone down : it 
was nearly nine o'clock, but there was still plenty of light. 
Ilusbiind and wife sat liand-iu hand. Tliey were silent : 
their looks were nielancholy : forebodings tilled the mind of 
out' : he saw that the thing, long expected, had at last arrived : 
his servant, who for live years bad robbed him stcretly, was 
now beginning to rob him without concealment, lie knew 
how the letter must have been written and the cheque signed, 
by whose dictation and under what circumstances. Once 
begun, the thing would be repeated. He had known, since 
the experience of the voyage, that he was in the hands of a 
perfectly unscrupulous and calculating person. So long as 
this person did what he was paid to do, that mattered 
nothing. Not until now had he realized how completely he 
had fallen into the man's power. And he was coming 
again. That very evening he would come. At the thought 
of the orgie which would follow, with the companionship 
of this creature, this thief and rogue — his soul sank within 
him. One way out of it. Yet he had long forgotten the 
very possibility of this way. 

' My dear,' said Nettie timidly, ' have you thought any 
more of what John Carew said ? I mean, that you should 
give up the lower kind of work, and go in altogether for the 
best journalism.' 

' Yes, I have thought of it, Nettie. I am always thinking 
of it.' 

' It has made me so proud to see your papers in the 
Ecvieiu every week. Even my father, who is so dead set 
against the profession, acknowledged that there was some- 
thing to be proud of in being connected with such a paper. 
If you could only keep to that kind of work alone ! Then 
I have had Uiore talk with John Carew — all about you, 
dear. He says that you have seen so much of the world, 
and that you have had so many experiences of men and 
manners, that you ought to write a most splendid novel. 
Think of that, dear !' 

' An autobiography. Yes — I might write a powerful auto- 
biography, if I told the whole truth. But no one ever 
does. ' 

' Well, dear, why not? The children should learu to be 



266 THE DEMONIAC 

proud of their father. I know how clever he is. Let them 
know too. Let all the world know. Oh ! since we have 
been to John Carew's chambers and talked with him, the 
world seems to have changed. You have changed ; you 
seem a different man, and oh ! so much greater, George, 
dear. Why, I can understand, now, what makes men dis- 
contented. Our young men are brought up to believe that 
there is nothing possible for them but to become clerks. 
They have no ambition. They go into the City and yet do 
not try to make themselves rich. Other young men — like 
John Carew, for instance — talk as if there was nothing in 
life worth anything except ambition.' 

' There isn't — much.' 

' And 5'et for three years you have been contented to sit 
down here among these unambitious clerks, and to toil for 
next to nothing for that wretched local paper. And you 
know the world. How could you do it ? How could you 
be so contented ? Why, George, when I knew no better I 
wanted no better. But you always knew, and yet you were 
contented. You even seemed to be happy. How could 
you, George? Was it because you had married me?' 

' My dear, it was because I could not, anyhow, get rid of 
that other me — -myself me. You helped me to become con- 
tented. You made me happy.' 

She shook her head. What did he mean by ' that other 
me'? 

' Give up this Boston business,' she urged again. ' Give 
that up, and I believe all would be right again.' 

' Perhaps it would. Yet I cannot give it up.' 

' I feel sure that it stands in your way. If you give it up, 
you might go among gentlemen again. Why are you afraid 
of going among gentlemen ? You are a gentleman yourself 
— I have known it all along — you are as superior to my 
brothers as John Carew is. You belong to his set, not to 
ours. I can see it in the difference of your manners when 
you are with him. You are with an equal. With the men 
here, you cannot disguise that you are their superior. 
How could you ever marry me ?' 

He patted her cheek, but said nothing. 

' George, I should like our boys to be gentlemen too, 
unless their mother stands in the way.' 

' No, Nettie — no. It is their father.' 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON 267 

' They are the sons of a freutleman. Won't yon give 
them their riglit place ? Won't you sacrifice this — whatever 
it is that stands in their way — for the sake of your wife and 
chiklren ?' 

The man sat silent. He heard another voice besides — a 
voice of three years agone — the voice of the Physician who 
warned him : 

' There is one other chance. It is that for the sake of 
some person — out of some great affection — you may arm 
yourself with resolution enough to fight the thing.' 

The voice spoke out quite clearly. He looked down upon 
his wife's comely head : he stooped and kissed it. 

' I will give up the accursed thing,' he said. ' Whatever 
happens, I will give it up. I will go back to my old friends. 
Your boys, my dear, shall be gentlemen, as their father was 
when he began the world.' 

' George ! You will ? You promise faithfully ?' 

She caught his hand and kissed it. 

' I promise faithfully.' He raised his head, and saw at 
the head of the garden-steps the man whom he was expect- 
ing. 'I promise, my dear. I go to Boston — for the last 
time. I am only going now, in order to make my arrange- 
ments for winding up the business and handing it over to 
my successor. Then I shall come home. For the last 
time. You have seen Mavis for the last time.' 

He kissed her and ran up the steps. 

Five minutes later he was gone. 

' But,' said his wife, ' it is for the last time. That dread- 
ful man will come here no more.' 

Like many men, George Humphrey's habits were such as 
to require the services of somebody to put his dressing-room 
in order, after every visit he made to that apartment. The 
wife ran up to perform the duty. The drawers were open, 
most of the contents were lying on the floor or on the 
single chair. George had been putting a few things in his 
bag. 

She began to pick up the things and to put them back. 
In a few minutes the room was in order again. The last 
thing she picked up was an old overcoat which hung from 
the wall. 

' George never wears this,' she said. ' I have never seen 
him put it on. It's quite an old thing, too. It only takes 



268 THE DEMONIAC 

up room. I will put it with the next bundle that goes. It 
will bring in something.' 

She bs-gan to search the pocket?, a pi'ecaution always 
observed both by those who sell their old clothes and by 
those who buy them. Money has been found forgotten in 
the pockets. I believe it is at Guy's that there lingers a 
traditional romance, or romantic tradition, of a student who 
was reduced to his last gasp, and on the point of renouncing 
his career, when he discovered in the le!t-hand pocket of a 
forgotten reach-me down a whole sovereign. He remained 
at the Hospital and became a Baronet, his son became a 
Baron and his grandson is an Earl. And the romance re- 
mains for the comfort of all penniless students. 

There was no money in this overcoat. It belonged to the 
days when George had a valet, which accounts for the fact ; 
but in the bi'east-pocket there was a letter. She drew it 
out. The letter was in an envelope, stamped and ready to 
be posted. It was too dark to read the address. 

Nettie carried the letter downstairs, thinking to give it to 
her husband in the morning. But when she had lit a candle, 
she read the address — ' Miss Thanet.' Who was Miss 
Thanet ? 

The envelope, which had lain in that pocket for five years, 
showed signs of wear. The coat had been put on and thrown 
off a hundred times, but the letter had never been dis- 
covered. It had travelled all round the world. It had been 
hanging up in the dressing-room. Nettie herself had taken 
it down and brushed it a dozen times ; but the letter lay 
there, undiscovered. 

Nettie read the superscription once more. 

I think that up to that moment she had never felt the 
smallest jealousy of her husband. In his actual presence it 
was impossible to feel jealous of him. His face, his manner, 
the look in his eyes, drove out jealousy. Ev^en when her 
mother, or her sister Victoria, in her most spiteful mood, 
suggested that with a perfect stranger you never know for 
certain that there isn't another woman in the case, Nettie 
never felt the least jealous. What they said, however, of 
George's strange freedom from relations had sunk more 
deeply than she would confess. Now, therefore, when 
jealousy awoke full-grown in her heart, it was accompanied 
by curiosity. Under these influences, which caused her eyes 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON 769 

to glow and her lips to stifi'en, she tore open the envelope 
and read the letter. You have read it already. 

This letter she read through once, twice, three times. 
Jealousy sank back abashed, and cowed curiosity hung her 
meddlesome head. In the presence of this terrible confes- 
sion both those passions slunk away and vanished. The 
concluding paragraph, with the signature, passed before her 
eyes unsten. She read nothing but the awful avowal of a 
continued and habitual druniiard. 

' Oh !' she thought — if her thoughts could be put into 
words, a process which deprives tliem of swiftness, of bril- 
liancy, of eloquence, and of persuasion — ' I know all now. 
He goes mad for dnnk. This explains everything. He has 
run away from all his friends for the very shame of it. He 
lives apart from them because they won't let him live with 
then). And the man Mavis is nothing but his keeper, whom 
they pay to take care of him when he has a fit. lie has 
one coming on now. He goes away somewhere with his 
man, and stays until the tit is over. Where can he go ? 
The business in Boston is to get drunk without anybody 
knowing it. Oh ! George, George — my poor husband 1 My 
poor dear ! My poor dear 1' 

What should she do ? 

The first thought of such a w^oman, so brought up, is for 
the daily bread of her children. Those who have never 
known tJie peril of such poverty as lessens the daily bread, 
do not begm by thinking of such a thing. The daughter of 
the small clerk thinks of it always. She has had actual 
experience either of her own or of friends in this direction. 
She has either felt, or witnessed others feeling, the actual 
pinch of unsatisfied hunger. Was the daily bread of her 
children in danger ? Well, during these three years of her 
marriage there had always been enough, and more than 
enough. She had even saved a hundred pounds. Business 
at Boston had never, so far, interfered with the supplies. 

Then she thought of other things, but in no proper 
sequence. A well-ordered mind would, I dare say, consider 
the degradation of the man first of all. Nettie did not. She 
considered the triumph of her mother and sister when the 
thing was found out — if it should be found out. And this 
thought filled her with rage and shame. She pictured her 
father grave, but not dissatisfied to find that his prejudice 



270 THE DEMONIAC] 

against journalists was justified. Also the malicious joy of 
her brotner Horatio, himself too much addicted to the 
cheerful glass and tlie convivial bar, 

A betcer-educatcd mind would have considered with 
dismay the hereditary nature of the disease. JXetcie had no 
such ideas, if a man committed the sin of drunkenness, he 
was a wicked man who ought to be punished, all the same 
as a man who robs his employer. She had no fears about 
her children, except that their father's weakness might 
interfere with their up-bringing, and that they might find it 
out. Therefore, it was not, after a little, pity for her husband 
that so much filled her soul as indignation and contempt. 
To go away and drink with a keeper ! Not to be able to 
resist a simple temptation ! — to those who know not, it 
seems a simple thing — but to yield at once, like a common 
drunken tramp ! Oh ! Shameful ! So it was — most shame- 
ful ; and yet — and yet — had she known the strength of the 
temptation ! This, too, she was about to learn. 

Business at Boston. That meant, she was perfectly cer- 
tain, business at Mavis's house — she knew his address. 
Her husband gave it to her once with the injunction that if 
he should at any time be taken ill, she was to send for Mavis 
at once, in order to get business of an important kind ar- 
ranged. Suppose she was to go there as well ? She might 
get into the house : she might even bring her husband home 
safely : she might, at least, satisfy herself about these sus- 
picions. 

It was about half-past nine. She called her single servant. 

' I am going out with the master,' she said. ' It may be 
quite late before I get back. Take both the children into 
your own room.' 

Then she put on her hat and jacket, and sallied forth. 

Within ten minutes' walk she came to the great highroad 
running north to Tottenham and Enfield and whatever lies 
beyond. In this highroad there are frequent tram-cars. 
She got into one of them, and was borne northwards. 

Mr. Mavis occupied a cottage standing in its own grounds 
in the broad valley of the river Lea, near Tottenham. 
Though the town of Tottenham has been ruined and spoiled 
worse than any other suburban town in the world, by the 
erection of rows and terraces of hideous houses, there are 
places where some of the old houses — not the great old 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON 271 

houses, but the little cottages — may still be fouud. This 
house, built of the old red brick, and surrounded by a high 
red- brick wall, stood in the middle of a really spacious garden 
among trees : a cottage quite secluded and shut in. it was 
the last in the road, and beyond it stretched tiie low-lying 
meadows on either side of the Lea. 

The cottage was, for the most part, unoccupied. No ser- 
vant lived there and no caretaker : no gardener attended to 
cut the grass and attend to the llower-beds : the place was 
deserted, save that once in a while there were seen lights, 
and voices were heard. Yet it was tenanted : the rent and 
the rates and taxes were paid with regularity. It was said 
that a misanthropist lived here all by himself. He was a 
hermit : he was a miser : he was a criminal : no one knew 
who he was or what. Such tenants, so unknown, so mys- 
terious, are not uncommon in London. For instance, there 
was a set of chambers in a certain Inn, some years ago, let 
to a man whose name was over the door. The name re- 
mained over the door for twenty years, during which the 
tenant never once came to the rooms, nor did anyone else 
call, nor were the rooms entered. At the end of that time, 
there was occasion to take up the floor for some gas-pipes. 
It was found that the rooms were absolutely bare and un- 
furnished. Why had the tenant taken those rooms ? 

Nettie found the place Vv'ith little difficulty. She pushed 
open the gate and walked in, her courage rismg rather than 
failing her as the time for action approached. 

There was no light in the front of the house : she walked 
across the long, rank grass of the neglected lawn : the air 
was heavy with the fragrance of mignonette, honeysuckle, 
and all the flowers of midsummer. 

She stood in the porch and listened. She heard the 
voices of men disputing. Here husband was there, then. 
She recognised his voice. 

She stole round to the back of the house. There was a 
hght on the ground-floor. But a white blind was pulled 
down, and she could see nothing. She listened, but the 
men talked in a low tone. She could distinguish nothing. 

She went back to the porch. She would knock at the 
door and call her husband out. Feeling for the knocker, 
she became aware that the door yielded. It was not shut. 
She opened it cautiously and looked in. Everything was 



272 THE DEMONIAC 

dark ; but the shadows defined themselves. She saw that 
the Httle hall was empty. For a light shone through the 
keyhole and under a door. 

She stepped lightly across a hall, afraid of creaking boards. 

Then she stooped— the thing has been often done before : 
it is almost clasbical : at such a moment, and under such 
circumstances, one is prepared to defend it : if it is necessary 
to find out what is going on in a room, it is often the only 
way. Nettie wanted very much to know : it was necessary 
that she should know : the thing was too terrible not to be 
faced : therefore, she stooped and — she looked through the 
keyhole. 

Yes. Her husband was there, and the man Mavis. 

The table was covered with bottles, tumblers, jugs of 
water, and bottles of soda, potash, and seltzer. 

' I tell you,' said George, ' that the time has come to make 
a stand. To-night, you say, it is the night when the Devil 
is due. I feel nothing. I am sober. I have no thirst upon 
me at all. I believe that if you had not come ' 

' I am paid to come.' 

' — I should not have been troubled at all. I believe you 
call the Devil up.' 

' He would come without any calling from me. Why 
now,' said Mavis, ' before a quarter of an hour — before ' — 
he watched his master's face keenly — ' before five — three 
minutes are out, you will have a tickling in the throat, then 
a dryness, next a hot and dry tickling, and then ' 

' Damn you !' said George. ' You have called the Devil, 
and he has come. Let me have air, and I will fight him !' 

He pulled up the blind and threw the window wide open. 

Nettie reflected that it would be safer and easier to look 
through the window than through the keyhole. Moreover, 
she would be able to see more. She therefore abandoned 
her position, and stole out of the house and so round to 
the back. Her husband was leaning out of the window, 
breathing the fresh air as if for coolness. 

' Oh r she thought. ' I might throw my arms round his 
neck and drag him away.' 

It is a pity, perhaps, that she did not. But too often we 
let pass the first thought, which is always the right thought, 
free from cowardice, pure from any unworthy motives. She 
did not throw her arms about him and drag him away. 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON 273 

She took up a position under an ash-tree, not too far from 
the window. The long branches fell before her like a veil. 
She held back the leaves, and could see and hear as well as 
if she was in the room. 

Her husband left the window and began to pace the room 
restlessly. It was a mere den of a room. There was a 
small table of the commonest kind : one wooden arm-chair 
was at the head of the table, another at one side : the first 
was empty, on the second sat the man Mavis. The only 
other furniture in the room was a great sofa — long enough 
and broad euough, Nettie observed, even for her giant of a 
husband. The place was dirty, unswept, unwashed. 

' This evening,' said George, ' I shall fight him for the 
first time. If I fight him once only, I shall defeat him for 
ever. Villain! Scoundrel!' He meant Mavis, not the 
Devil. ' If it had not been for you, I should have fought 
him on the voyage five years ago ! But for you ' 

' If it had not been for me, you would be lying dead at 
the bottom of the sea. Fight him, indeed 1 You tight 
him !' 

' And you have made me draw a cheque for five thousand.' 
Something caught him in the throat. ' You are a foi'ger 
and a thief ! I shall go and see my agents, and warn them 
for the future.' 

' No, you won't warn your agents,' said Mavis. * Because, 
if you do, I shall leave you. And what will you do then ? 
Five thousand ! Well, if you like to make me presents 
while you are half drunk, it's your look-out. Little enough, 
too, considering what I've done for you. Dragged all round 
the world : made to live in this hole all alone : five good 
years thrown away, and a good place given up. And you 
kept all the time respectable, so that not a soul suspects ; 
and you, with a quarter-of-a-million of your own, to grudge 
a paltry cheque like that ! Why, it is starvation ! You 
ought to be ashamed of yourself : you will be, too, in half- 
an-hour ! And I shouldn't wonder if you didn't ' 

He paused and grinned, and turned to his occupation, 
which was that of arranging the drink as if for a dozen 
men. First he pulled the corks from two bottles of whisky ; 
then from half-a-dozen bottles of seltzer. Then he mixed 
the whisky and the seltzer in balf^a-dozen great tumblers 
wiih an ostentatious and even enthusiastic gurgling. And 

18 



274 THE DEMONIAC 

at the sound of the flowing drink, the glou-glou of the 
whisky, and the fizzing of the sparkhng seltzer, George, 
who had assumed the attitude of the vahant soldier, such 
as Horatius who kept the bridge, trembled in his knees; 
and over his face — set to sternness, such as the face of him 
who leads a forlorn hope— there stole a weakening, visible 
and irresistible. There would be no fight after all, Nettie 
observed. And again she thought of rushing into the room 
to stop him even at the last moment. 

Too late ! With a groan George sank into the chair set 
for him. He was trembling and shaking in every limb : the 
room shook with his trembling : the drops stood upon his 
forehead, his cheek was pale with longing, his eyes were 
fierce with desire, his lips shook with yearning. He re- 
sisted no longer : he stretched forth his hand and seized 
one of the flowing glasses. 

And Nettie understood the reason why he had business 
in Boston. She understood with a sinking heart. This 
man her husband ? This man ? Oh, the pity and the 
shame of it ! She looked as if she could have wept and 
cried aloud, but wonder and amazement kept her still. He 
drained the glass. Mavis gave him another — and another. 
He tossed them down his throat as if he could not drink 
quickly enough. He seized the bottle and drank the raw 
spirit. Then he took another tumbler and drank that. He 
drank in great gulps ; he drank without stopping : he was 
insatiable. 

Good Heavens ! And the man had been her companion 
for three years, always gentle, always kind, always tem- 
perate. Now she understood why he had fled from his own 
people. 

The man Mavis sat at the table looking on. Nettie 
observed that he showed the utmost zeal in keeping up the 
spirit of the thing : opening bottles of seltzer, pouring out 
water, and making the tumblers fly, as if they were both 
engaged in the merriest, maddest, most frolicsome feast ever 
devised. 

At last George set down the bottle empty. A whole 
bottle of whisky in a quarter-of-an-hour ! And yet he 
lived. Now Nettie understood why he was so shy of other 
men. He was ashamed. In his sober time he remembered 
this time of orgie, and he was ashamed. He was not fit to 



BUSINES.'; AT BOSTON 275 

associate with men wlio command tliemselves. Yet, she 
remembered, he had thought himself tit to associate with her 
friends and herself. 

He lay back in his chair, smiling benevolently. He was 
at rest. Surrender was followed by peace. It generally is. 
When the enemy has got all he wants, he is ready to make 
peace. George looked round him, peaceful and happy. 
Never before had his wife seen on his face that look of 
universal benevolence. 
His eyes fell upon Mavis. 

' You are my benefactor,' he said. ' Mavis, you are more 
than a servant : you are a fond and faithful friend !' He 
did not speak thickly, or in the least like a man under the 
influence of drink. * You ai'e more than a friend : you are 
my better self : my other half : my better half — the half 
which protects and provides ' — he laid a fond hand upon 
the empty bottle — ' provides and thinks beforehand. What 
can I do for you, dear friend ? Is it money ? Can money 
repay such devotion as youi's ? No ! But if you want 

money ' 

' Why,' said Mavis, ' money is always useful ; and I'm 
past fifty ; and here's your cheque-book and a bit of note- 
paper handy. Since you will have it, I'm not the man to 
say nay. We'll make it five thousand while we're about it. 
Five thousand — not a penny more.' 
George nodded sweetly. 

' Five thousand,' he said. ' Very good indeed ; five thou- 
sand. It is too little. But since you insist on taking no 

more ' 

He began to write. He wrote quite well and easily, in 
his usual handwriting. In ten minutes more he would be 
past the power of writing. This was the golden moment, 
known to every toper, when the brain seems — but is not — 
at its clearest and strongest. This moment past, the clouds 
gather : to think or to talk is impossible : nothing remains 
except to drink. 

' I have written,' he said. ' I don't know what my lawyer 
has done with my money, whether it is lying at the bank, 
or whether they have invested it somewhere. I have drawn 
a cheque to their order, and I have w^ritten a letter. Here 
it is : 



276 THE DEMONIAC 

' " Ou receipt of this note aud its enclosure, please pay to 
the account of Joseph Mavis, at the Tottenham Branch of 
the Union Bank of London, tlie sum of £5,000. 

' " YouLS very truly, 

' " Geoege Atheling." ' 

' What name did he say?' Ntttie asked. ' Geoi'ge what? 
Not George Humphrey. He believes that he is rich, and 
he h^s signed someone else's name. Oh ! It is forgery !' 

' There, my friend,' George continued. ' It is some com- 
fort to me that, though I nuist fly from my friends and hide 
my head, I have got you to fall back upon.' 

' Oh I you've got me fast enough.' 

He took a black letter-case from his pocket, and carefully 
placed in it the letter and the cheque. 

' When I came here,' George went on, 'I thought that 
among those little City clerks, and people of that sort, 
nobody would care what anybody did. I was wrong. They 
care more down here than they do up above. They think 
more of behaviour and conduct, not less — these worthy 
people. I would rather that Elinor Thanet found me out 
than my own wife, nmch rather — I should be less ashamed.' 

' Oh, my love ! Oh, George 1' the wife murmured, ' and 
now she does know !' 

' That's all right, then,' the man replied, without much 
sympathy. ' You must be getting dry by this time, I should 
say. Let's begin again. Let's have a night of it. Lord ! 
I'm most as thirsty as you. Ha !' 

He began, in his turn, to drink. Not with the mad 
greediness of his companion, but with a steady purpose, as 
if resolved to make up for lost time. As he drank, his pale 
cheeks became paler ; but he lifted his eyes : they were 
such bad eyes, so full of evil, that Nettie understood now 
why she hated the sight of the man. Yet she had never 
before seen those eyes. 

Then George, stimulated by the example before him, 
beg nn again. 

When Nettie presently, trembling and terrified, came 
forth from her hiding-place, both men were vulgarly and 
quite commonly drunk. No coal-heaver could be more 
drunk, short of the comatose state. They were laughing 
stupidly in each other's faces : they bawled snatches of 



BUSINESS AT BOSTON tjf 

songs : but they were too drunk to remember more than 
bits of the air or of the words : they banged each other on 
the sliouldeis witli their lists : they pawed each other : they 
addressed each other in terms of endearment. 

Tlje sighc was terrifying and humihating. Nettie could 
look on no longer. She went away. She walked through 
the dark garden into the dark lane, and made her way to 
the road where ran the trams. It was now, though she had 
seen so nmch, no more than eleven o'clock. 

As the tram-car rolled along, she heard not tlie talk of 
the people round her, or the carts in the road, or auything. 
Her ears were full of the drunken singing of the man whom 
she had worshipped as the best and noblest of God's 
creatures ! 

CHAPTEE XIV. 

HE IS FOUND. 

When one has discovered a great secret : when one has a 
great burden laid on the unwilling shoulders : when there is 
a great grief : when there is a great terror to face — needs 
must that the trouble be imparted to some other person, 
even if it cannot be shifted or sliared. Only to tell it brings 
relief. 

The case was quite beyond her own people's power of 
advice. Tliat, Nettie understood very well. Besides, they 
must not know. She was ashamed. They must never find 
out, if the thing could be concealed. 

She could thmk of no one to advise her except her old 
friend, John Carew. 

In the morning she went to his chauibers, and fortunately 
found him at home. 

Then slie sfit down and told her whole story from the very 
beginning. She had a patient listener, though it was a long 
story, and contained, before the point was leached.as many 
episodes, digressions, and explanations as an eighteenth- 
century novel. Like most women — the thing is illustrated 
by many lady novelists — she wanted the \vhole sto'-y to be 
told so that nothing could be left to the imagination. It 
therefore lost in dramatic force what it gained in complete- 
ness. The narrator went I'iglit back to the days when she 



278 THE DEMONIAC 

was in the Post Office, and to the beginning of her acquaint- 
ance with her George. You know the story. 

' You will tell iiie what follows presently, Nettie,' said 
John Carew when she paused and burst into tears. ' Eest a 
little and recover yourself.' 

' No, I must go on. You know that he has what he calls 
business at Boston every two months. A man comes to 
fetch him — it's always in the evening — and they go off 
together. He's a horrid man : he looks on the ground : he's 
got white and swollen cheeks : he dresses in black, like an 
undertaker.' 

' I have heard of the mysterious business at Boston.' 

' It isn't mysterious any longer. Now I know all about 
it. And this is what I've come to tell you about. And, oh, 
John ! I'm the most miserable woman in the world !' 

' Don't say that, Nettie ! Tell me all, and we will see 
what can be done. There isn't — there isn't another woman 
in the case ?' 

' John ! can you ask such a question ? As if my George 
was capable ' 

' No — no — of course not. But go on : tell me all.' 

' Last night the man came again. Well, we'd been ex- 
pecting his visit, and George, poor dear, was very low. 
However, he went upstairs, put his things together, and 
went off looking more miserable than ever I had seen him 
before. When he was gone I ran up to tidy the room after 
him, which he'd left in the most horrid mess. I found, 
tumbled down behind the door, an old overcoat, which I 
thought, as George never wears it, I would take away and 
put up in the next parcel to be sold. Well, in the pocket I 
found a letter ' 

' A letter. And the letter contained a secret ?' 

' It was a letter— not addressed to George, but written to 
some lady — in his handwriting. It was in an envelope, 
gummed and stamped ready to be posted. And the envelope 
was brown with age, so that I knew it must be a letter 
written a long time ago and forgotten.' 

' Well ?' 

' I was jealous, John. I w^on't deny that I was jealous. 
But I am not jealous any longer. Why shouldn't he be 
engaged before he met me ? Why, I was engaged before he 
met mc ; twice I was engaged, and broken off each time. 



HE IS FOUND V9 

That's nothing. T read the letter, and oh, John ! — oh ! — it 
told the whole dreadful truth about the business in Boston.' 

' Oh ! The dreadful truth — and not a woman in it, Nettie !' 
He became very serious — ' Not — not crime ?' 

' John ! Crime ? With my George — my husband ?' 

'Oh!' he sighed with relief. 'Not crime — not another 
woman? Do you know% I think it cannot be so very ter- 
rible.' 

' You think so — well ! But you shall just read the letter. 
It is addressed to a lady — a Miss Thanet — Elinor Thanet ' 

' What V John Carew^ bounded out of his chair. ' Elinor 
Thanet ? Good Heavens ! Elinor Thanet ! What a blind 
idiot I have been — blind and deaf and stupid ! Why, I 
ought to have guessed ! Nettie, I know who your husband 
is. He is not George Humphrey at all ! If Elinor had only 
once described him to me — if she had told me that he was 
big and blue-eyed, I should have guessed long ago. Good 
Heavens ! Nettie, your husband is George Atheling, who 
has disappeared for five years !' 

' He is my George — my husband !' cried his vv'ife jealously. 

' Of course, your husband. And I remember, besides, he 
must be the same Atheling who went down just before I 
w^ent up. I found his photograph. Now I remember why 
his face was familiar to me. Stay! I've got it somewhere.' 
He began to search through some papers in a drawer. ' I 
know I have it still. It is here somewhere. Ah ! here it is 
— before he grew that great beard. Is this your husband, 
Nettie ?' 

' Yes, this is George. He is younger, and he has no beard ; 
but George, most certainly — George Humphrey, my hus- 
band.' 

' George Atheling, I say !' 

' Last night, when he was writing, he used that name ; I 
did not understand, at the time, why. What does it mean, 
John ? Oh I is this a new trouble?' 

' I think not. Let me read the letter, however.' 

He read the letter slowly, folded it up and laid it on the 
table. 

Just then a telegram arrived. 

' It is from Miss Thanet herself,' said John. ' She has 
heard from George. Why, I consulted him about finding 
himself ! He must have gone straight and written to her. 



28o THE DEMONIAC 

She says : " I have heard from him : he is living and well. 
Come to advise me." ] actually consulted George Hum- 
phrey about finding George Atheling ! And he advised me 
to stop the search after him. Therefore, he knew that we 
were looking after him. He advised me not to advertise ; 
but the advice came too late. Nettie, this is a terrible tiling 
for you to learn. You will want all ycur courage. You 
believe tJiat this business at Boston is nothing more than 
what he indicates in this letter ?' 

' I have not told you all.' 

She told the whole story as you have heard it, sparing no 
detail. 

• And now, John, what am I to do ?' she concluded. 
' Never mind about Miss Thanet. Think of me and my 
poor children first.' 

' Yes, Nettie ; Elinor Thanet must come after you. There 
is no doubt, first, that your husband is subject to these 
attacks of drink-craving, as you say that he is always per- 
fectly and completely sober at other times. Probably the 
sight of this man has something to do with the violence of 
the attacks — the sight of the man and the presence of the 
drink. The man, I should think, encourages his master for 
his own purposes. You say that he gave him five thousand 
pounds last night ? Why, two months ago he gave him the 
same sum 1' 

' My husband hasn't got a hundred pounds in the 
world.' 

* Nettie, there is another discovery for you. Y'our husband 
is not a poor journalist at all. He is a rich man — a very 
rich man. I do not know how rich. He has several thou- 
sands a year.' 

' Oh ! No— it can't be !' 

' It certainly is so. He hasn't made away with his fortune. 
The cheque of five thousand pounds is the only cheque that 
he has drawn for three years.' 

' Eich ! Then my boys— oh ! John — my boys ' 

' Will be rich as well. Nettie, you have found out a 
terrible secret. But you have also found a secret which 
may bring consolation, and even help.' 

' What am I to do, John ? Oh ! what am I to do ? For 
if ho finds out that I know all, he will be shamed : he will 
run away and desert me. And if he goes away again on 



HE IS FOUND 28 r 

business to Boston, I shall die of anxiety and pity for him. 
Oh! he thinks I should despisi him! I, who have never 
found him anything but full of love! Oh ! John, I am full 
of pity for Inm. I was full of ragn when I went after him — 
but ic was so dieadful to think of him as I saw him last 
night — so fall'-ni— so degraded — my George !' 

' Let me try to do something i^n- you. Leave him to me 
— I have at least an idea, lie can't run avay this morning, 
I am quite sure. Leave him to me.' 

' But, John, don't tell him that I know.' 

' I never will. Go now, Nettie. Go with some relief to 
your poor heart. You know the worst. Now go, and let 
me thmk.' 

The cottage at Tottenham on this splendid summer 
morning, surrounded by flowers and trees, covered with 
creepers, looked like a bridal bower — a sweet, sacred spot 
reserved for honeymoons, the rest of a newly-married pair. 
It was perfectly quiet : except for a thrush or a blackbird, 
there was hardly any sound in the air : you could hear the 
hum of the countless insects about the flower-beds : and 
though the lawn was neglected and the grass long and the 
flowers were mixed with weeds, the place looked beautiful 
and inviting. Eouud the house was a brick wall of great 
ancientness, the top covered with long grasses and wall- 
flowers. A policeman stood outside the gaie, gazing upon 
this scrap or remnant of Eden. 

About eleven o'clock a carriage came down the lane, and 
stopped before the gate. A gentleman got out, followed by 
two commissionaires, stalwart, well set-up men. The 
policeman watclied him curiously. 

' I want,' said the gentleman, who was John Carew, ' to 
find a house tenanted by one Mr. Mavis.' 

The policeman smiled mysteriou&ly and pointed within. 

' This is Mr. Mavis's house?' 

The policeman smilerl again and pointed within. 

' Well. Do you know if he's within— at tliis nioment?' 

' Oh ! Yes — he's withm. You'll find him. The other 
gentleman is there too.' 

' The other gentleman who comes here to stay a day or 
two. I have come, in fact, for him.' 

' Well, you'll find them there — but ' 



282 THE DEMONIAC 

' You mean that it will be difficult to get speech of them. 
Is that it? I know all about it, you see.' 

' Last night,' said the policeman, ' I heard them. They're 
a cheerful pair when they do get together ! I suspected 
something, so I went in. The door was open, and a window 
was wide open. I shut the door, but the window I left 
open. As for making them understand anything — there! 
You can let yourself in by getting through the window if 
you like. You don't look like one who would steal any- 
thing, and there's nothing to steal except a bottle of whisky 
or so.' 

John Carew followed his guidance, and entered by that 
method. 

Lying on a sofa breathing stertorously, his cheeks swollen 
and red, lay George Humphrey. He was evidently in a 
deep sleep, from which he would not awaken for some 
hours. On the floor lay the other man. Mavis, also sound 
asleep, and in a similar condition. 

John opened the front door to admit his commissionaires. 
Then he looked round the house. Every room, except one 
bedroom, was empty and unfurnished. If this man lived in 
the house, it must have been a most uncomfortable way of 
hving. Then he returned to the first room. On the table 
he saw a black letter-case. He remembered the story of 
the letter and the cheque. 

' At all events,' he said, ' if George wants to give him this 
money, which I doubt, he shall give it when he is sober.' 
He opened the case and took out the papers. ' When you 
wake up, my honest fellow ' — he addressed the sleeping 
servant — ' you wall remember the cheque, and you will 
search for it, and you will not find it. Then will your 
heart sink like lead, and your amazement shall make your 
knees to totter ; and what with hot coppers and the dis- 
appointment, and the anxiety about the cheque and the 
disappearance of your master, your condition will be very 
bewildering and uncomfortable ! 

' Poor beast !' he turned to the contemplation of George. 
' This is how we meet ! This is the man whose face so 
filled me with admiration six years ago ! I remember him 
now. This is the reason why he took his name off the 
books. Poor wretch ! What an affliction ! He is the 
slave of the ex-gyp — the slave of this creature !' 



THE MOUTH OF HELL. 283 

lie turned the prostrate body over with his foot. Theu, 
by the aid of the two stout commissionaires, he carried the 
sleeping man— George Athehug — out of tlie cottage, placed 
him in the carriage, and drove away. 



CHAPTEE XV 

THE MOUTH OF HELL. 

George returned to consciousness in the afternoon, about 
three o'clock. From long experience, he knew perfectly 
well what had happened. It was, he remembered, the day 
after the first orgie. He v^as in the cottage, lying on the 
sofa : he knew this without opening his eyes. He had got 
through the first of the two attacks : the second would seize 
him presently, but not for a few hours ; not till he had 
partly recovered from the first. The second attack was 
always fiercer, but more easily and quickly subdued by him 
who made haste to surrender. He knew that if he moved 
his head it would be as heavy as lead : he knew also that if 
he tried to get up he should stagger and fall. Therefore, he 
lay quite still, his eyes closed. He grew more wakeful : he 
heard voices — the voices of men talking somewhere — one 
voice that he knew very well. The sound of voices, even 
where there are no voices, does not greatly alarm a man in 
this condition and with these experiences. Sometimes George 
would see shapes— figures, whole regiments and armies of 
creatures, wuth faces of the most frightful ugliness. Voices 
are not half so bad as faces. Voices can shout and sw^ear 
and threaten, but they do not terrify like faces. Besides, 
these voices were only murmurs — low and peaceful murmurs : 
no harm in these voices at all. Better to listen to these 
voices than to the hated voice of Mavis. 

He became more wakeful still. Another illusion : it 
seemed now as if his head were reposed on a soft pillow 
and his limbs on a spring mattress : as if his hands were 
lapped in soft sheets, and that blankets were laid upon 
him : in a word, it seemed as if he was in bed. Everybody 
knows exactly how it feels to be in bed. Strange mockery 
of his senses ! Why, he was on the hard horsehair sofa at 
the cottage, and most likely Mavis w'as lying drunk on the 



284 THE DEMONIAC 

floor ; and it was probably the middle of the night. Then 
a door opened, and the voices became audible. And then 
he heard a footstep in the room its-lf, and hs opened his eyes. 

He was not at the cottage at all. lie was in a bedroom, 
a large bedroom, properly furnished : not his own bedroom 
in Datf'odil Eoad, which was of small dimensions, but a full- 
sized bedroom. 

What could this mean ? Christopher Sly himself was 
not more surprised, nor that other honest top^r whose head 
was cut off by the benevolent Peter, also styled the Great, 
so that he might awake from his drunken sleep to find liim- 
self in Paradise. No death was ever devised more happy. 
George half turned his head. The owner of the footstep he 
observed was none other than John Carew, and he wondered 
whether this also was an illusion. 

' So,' he said, at the bedside, ' you are awake at last, are 

you?' 

' Where am I ?' 

' In my rooms.' 

' Oh !' He closed his eyes again, in order to fix his mind 
on this new phenomenon ; then he opened them once more. 
' How came I here ?' 

' I brought you.' 

' Oh !' 

Once more he closed his eyes. This was all a dream — he 
was in dream and ghostland. A more complicated dream 
than is commonly encountered, but still only a dream. 
There could be no John Carew, no bed, no chamber at all — 
only the sofa and the cottage. 

' I brought you here, man ; I brought you in a carriage. 
I found out where you were lying, and I went there on 
purpose to bring you back. Don't think you are dreaming. 
This part of your thoughts, at least, is not delirium tremens. 
I found you lying on a sofa in your cottage, as drunk as a 
log and as senseless. I had you carried to the cariiage and 
brought you away.' 

' How did you hnd me ?' 

' That is my secret. Well, this is what you call going to 
Boston on business ! Noble business !' 

George shut his eyes again. 

' Every man,' he said feebly, ' is master of his own 
actions, I suppose.' 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 285 

' If you were master of yours, you would not bo lyiug 
here in this condition. Come, you know it !' 

George made no reply. 

' You your own master?' repeated John Carew. ' Why, 
you are a slave — a miseiable slave ! You are a coward — 
you run away from a hogey ' 

' I wish you had such a bogey after you !' 

' I know exactly what happens to you. Every two 
months you are assailed by a craving for drink. It is a 
very well-known disease, in one form or the other. Thou- 
rauds of men have it. The only way to meet it is to fight 
it. Y'^ou don't hglit it : you give iu at once. You go away 
with this wretched creature of yours, who encourages you 
for purposes of his own, and you drink like a liog with him 
till the tit passes away.' 

' All this,' said George, ' is quite true. I assure you, 
however, that it is not the smallest use to say it, unless for 
the relief of your conscience.' 

'Very well. Sonie day — perhaps when your boys have 
arrived at a time of life which will enable them to feel the 
degradation — you will be exposed : you will be caught and 
detected. You are certain to be found out. Your servant 
will grow tired of you. He is already devising a plan for 
making himself independent of you. He has stolen five 
thousand pounds of you. That you know already, because 
you heard it from me. Lastniglithe made another attempt. 
He made you write an order on your agents for another live 
thousand pounds.' 

' No I no !' cried George. ' He had not the impudence ' 

' He had, indeed. I am only surprised, considering all 
things, that he did not make it fifty thousand w^iile he was 
about it. But such a man cannot soar very high in robbery. 
To him ten thousand pounds seems a vast sum of money. 
My opinion is that in robbing you of these sums his inten- 
tion is to leave you and go away. He must have made a 
good deal out of you in the five years. Have you any idea 
what he has cost you ?' 

'Is this a time for arithmetic? Well, when I started 
jourijali>t I tcok a thousand pounds with me— something to 
fall back upon. I haven't spent any of it on myself.' 

' It is all gone, I suppos-e '.'' 

' I believe it is all gone in three years,' 



286 THE DEMONIAC 

' Then, of course, he thinks that when he can get no more 
money out of you, it will be time to leave you. Well then, 
when he is gone, what will you do next ?' 

' I don't know : make away with myself.' 

' Oh ! No, you won't do that. You will look out for 
another attendant. Then the thing will get whispered 
about, and so will become known. Why, I know it already: 
other people know it. I have learned this secret of yours ; 
and, with it, the whole reason of your life — your flight and 
your disappearance ' 

' What do you know about rny life ?' 

' I will tell you presently. For the moment, remember 
that there is no Mavis here. I do not think you will ever 
see the respectable Mavis any more. At least, I hope you 
will not.' 

George sat up in bed, resolution in his face. 

' Will you go away? I am going to get up and dress.' 

' What shall you do when you are dressed ?' 

' I shall go back to the cottage.' 

' Very well, then. You can't dress, you see, because I've 
had all your clothes taken away. And you can't wear mine, 
because you are six-feet-three and I am flve-feet-nine. Eh ?' 

To this George made no reply. He fell back on the 
pillows. Besides, his head w^as heavy : he could not get up 
and dress, even if he had the wherewithal. 

' Is your fit gone for good ? I mean, for the present ?' 

'No.' 

' Will there be another attack ?' 

' Yes.' 

He glared at his captor, looking about him as if for some 
clothes — any clothes — in which he could get back to the 
cottage. 

' When do you expect it ?' 

' Not till this evening. It may come any moment ; but, 
as a rule, I do not expect it till the evening, when I have 
partly recovered from the first attack.' 

' Oh ! I am glad — I am very glad — that you are going to 
have another attack, because I have made every preparation 
for it. You shall see how hospitable I shall be.' 

' If your preparations do not include whisky,' said George 
calmly, ' there will be trouble. I warn you — I shall have 
the strength of three men ! ' 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 2«7 

' So I have been told ; I have therefore laid in a stock of 
strong men. There will be quite as many of them here as 
we are at all likely to want. You may be perfectly easy on 
that point. Whatever trouble may result from the absence 
of whisky, be assured that you yourself ' 

' Oh, you don't know — you don't know !' 

' My dear fellow, it is true that I don't know. Thank 
God I do not know, but I can guess. No drink at all except 
water, and for companion of your bedside — your own wife !' 

' My wife? My wife ? No, Carew, not that ! You have 
not been so inhuman ?' 

' Why not ? Since it depends wholly on yourself whether 
you will conquer this weakness or not — since she is not sup- 
posed to know what is the matter ' 

' Oh ! You have not told her ?' 

' No ' — this was perfectly true — ' I have not told her. 
That, my friend, I leave to you. Nobody shall tell her but 
you. She will sit at your bedside. When the attack begins 
you will tell her what it is, if you cannot fight it. Then the 
strong men will come in and your wife will go out. And in 
the morning we shall know what to do next.' 

George lay back groaning. 

' This is sheer cruelty ! It is torture ! You do not 
know !' 

' Since torture is the only thing that will cure, let us apply 
torture by all means. Suppose that torture had been applied 
by yourself five years ago. It would have been like the 
pricking of a pin compared with the pain you will feel this 
night. Yet you must bear it. Think of it as the flames of 
purgatory.' 

He shook his head and groaned again. 

' Come, you shall have a cup of tea. Will you eat any- 
thing ?' 

' Give me the tea.' '-^ 

When he had taken the tea his eyes close^^He dix3toped 
off to sleep again. He slept for two hourfiSpft was naif- 
past five when he woke. 3P^ 

John Carew was at his bedside still. 

' Come,' he said, ' you have had a refreshing sleep. I 
have got some beef-tea and toast for you. Will you take 
that ?' 

' So '-^after awhile — ' do you feel strong enough to [go 



288 THE DEMONIAC 

on with our talk ? 1 have got a great deal to say, aud per- 
haps the fit will seize you again.' 

' No, I think not — I feel no symptoms of it. ' 

' Partly because the scoundrel Mavis is not with you to 
suggest the craving and to pour out the drink. Now, then. 
First of all, I know who you are. I have found that out. 
You are George Atheling. You took your name off the books 
of your College at the end of your second year and went 
down without taking your degree. You were engaged to 
Elinor Thauet, aud you broke off the engagement : you 
separated yourself from your old friends aud lived alone : 
you went on a voyage : you came home : you then dived 
down into lower depths of society : you becanie a journalist: 
you have deserted your fortune as well as your friends ; you 
live on your earnings : and you are married. All this 
because you have never once had the courage to fight this 
bogey.' 

' I do not ask how you found out all this,' George replied. 
' Of course it is all true. Yet do not tell my wife !' 

'I think she may know something of this already. You 
may find out, if you please, what she does know.' 

' How long have you known all this?' 

' Only a few hours.' 

George sat up in bed. ' Man, if I do not satisfy this 
Devil, he will rend me limb from limb !' 

' Bogey ! He threatens — he can do nothing. Stand up 
to him — fight him. Now listen, ]\Ir. George Atheling, be- 
cause I am going to speak very plainly with you. The time 
has come when action must be taken.' 

' Go on — I am listening. But it will all come to nothing. 
This Devil is more crafty than you think.' 

'Is he? That shall be seen. Your wife will presently 
come to nurse you. I shall have a supply ready of lemons, 
apoUinaris-water, coffee, tea — anything you may want. We 
shall keep watch — the strong men and I — by turns in the 
next room. If you face the Devil like a man and fight him 
till he flies, \^e shall do nothing — you will be alobe with 
your wife, if, on the other hand, you surrender and begin 
to rave and to rage and to cry for the drink which you will 
not get : if you jump out of bed and attempt to search for 
drink, either in this room or the next, you will ba seized by 
the strong men and bound and tied with ropes such as even 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 289 

Samson could uot snap. I assure you that my men are 
very strong, and that they understand this kind of work. 
So far you follow ?' 

' Yes — I follow. You will drive me mad !' 

' I am coming to that. Curious that you should anticipate 
my thoughts. When you are tied down and helpless — 
possibly, as you say, by that time raving mad — I shall send 
for a doctor. It will then be time to interfere for the sake 
of your own wiie and children. I shall have you treated as 
a madman in reahty : you shall be removed to an asylum.' 

' You cannot,' said George. ' No doctor would sign the 
certificate. You can prove that I was drunk, not that I was 
mad. It is very good bounce, however.' 

' Do not deceive yourself. Come, you are a man of sense. 
Let us consider the facts of the case.' 

' No facts will make me out to be mad.' 

' Let us see. You are a man of wealth and position : you 
abandon both — why ? You have given up all your friends, 
and have gone to live alone, among people of a lower class 
— why ? This you have done, not from philanthropy or 
religion or poverty or disgrace, or any of the ordinary motives 
that make men do such things. Not at all. Nor have you 
done it in order to give a free rein to vicious inclinations. 
Not in the least. Why, then ?' 

' Reason enough,' said George grimly. 

' Not at all. Because, if there was a thing to be con- 
cealed from your old friends, there is the same thing to be 
concealed from your new friends. Act of a madman. You 
have gained nothing by the change. There was no motive 
at all for it. Next you become a journalist. Being a man 
of learning and culture, you choose to live on the precarious 
earnings of a local journalist reporter — penny-a-liner — while 
you have waiting for you an income of seven thousand 
pounds a year. Nay, you go farther. You marry a girl of 
this class — not a disgraceful class, quite the reverse ; but 
not a class in which gentlewomen are reared. You have 
children whose rights are your own : they are the heirs to 
this great property. Yet you prefer to bring them up as 
the children of a man who is happy if he gets three hundred 
a year.' 

' Yet that does not make me mad.' 

' We pass over the Australian fiction and the false name, 

19 



290 THE DEMONIAC 

because they belong to the situation. Next, you can be 
proved to be in the power of a man, formerly a gyp at Gam- 
bridge and afterwards your servant. He comes at certain 
periods and drags you away with him to a cottage near 
Tottenham, where, together, you conduct disgraceful orgies 
not to be accounted for except under the supposition of 
madness. And you reward this man with immense sums of 
money. A week ago you sent him five thousand pounds, 
and last night another hve thousand, though it is not certain 
whether he will secure that plunder. If it is necessary, in 
order to show how mad you are, he shall have it. For what 
consideration did you give that man ten thousand pounds in 
one week ? For acting as a keeper or attendant ? But you 
pay him for that ; you give him his wages. And he has got 
in three years a thousand pounds out of you for alleged 
expenses. You knew that he cheated you, of course ?' 

George groaned. 

' I knew he was a thief ; but I could do nothing !' 

' Putting everything together, my dear boy,' said John 
Carew cheerfully, ' I have not the least doubt that we shall 
prove you to be as mad as Nebuchadnezzar. 

' Your wife,' he went on, ' has arrived here. She is in the 
other room. I have told her you are very ill. She will come 
and sit by you. She will talk to you. Presentlyyou will, per- 
haps, fall asleep : when you wake up, you will, perhaps, get 
the next attack. Say to yourself, tnat whatever you do — 
whether you rage and roar, whether you cry and beseech, or 
whether you fignt — it all comes to the same thing — you will 
get no drmk. You are thinking of flight. You cannot very well 
get to Tottenham from Soutn Kensington in a white night- 
dress, with no money and my strong men all running after 
you. You must be frightfully mad to think of such a thing. 
Don't glare at me, man ! You are now brought face to face 
with your Devil. For the first time, you are obliged to 
fight or to go mad. Because I verily believe, George 
Atheling, that if you give way to him this time : if you let 
him clutch your throat this once, now that there is no drink 
to satisfy him, you will truly go stark, staring, raving mad ! 
We will have this business settled once for all.' 

The big man tossed his arms in a kind of despair. The 
net was about him : there was no way out of it. He 
thought of the voyage, and of that knob so carefully pre- 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 291 

pared for him by the best of servants. Had Mavis been 
within reach, he would have ottered that last cheque of 
live thousand pounds for drink. For he saw before him 
such a time as Damien expected when he was taken forth 
to have his llesh -wrenched off with red-hot pincers and to 
be torn to pieces by wild horses. 

' Atheling,' John Carew added earnestly, 'this may he 
the most fateful moment in your life. AH depends now 
upon your courage. Your wife will be with you to keep up 
your ]-esolution.' 

George turned his face to the wall to hide the emotion 
that tilled his eyes. 

' Your wife, who has believed you the strongest and best 
man in the whole world ! Think what is at stake ! Her 
life's happiness : your own self-respect : the whole future of 
your children : all depend upon your courage this night.' 

' You do not know — you do not know,' G-eorgc repeated. 
' The Thiug is a Devil : he will take my life : he will tear 
me to pieces !' 

' Not he. You are as strong as a bull ! Put forth your 
strength. You are worth fifty such Devils. And, besides, 
you won't have beside you the other Devil — the man who 
chinks the glasses and pours out the drink, and eggs you 
on ' 

' How do you know that he does ?' 

' I know everything. Now, promise you wall fight him.' 

' I promise. Only, I have promised before ; and the 
Devil always wins.' 

' Then, by the Lord Harry, George Atheling, if the Devil 
wins this time, you shall be the prize show of the mad- 
house ! My men are waiting for you. And my doctor will 
be ready with another doctor to sign the certificate. Heaven 
or Hell — whichever you choose— with Purgatory between. 
Odd that you can get into Hell as well as out of it, through 
Purgatory. The church-people have forgotten that !' 

John Carew went away. A minute later he returned, 
bringing Nettie and the boy — the little George — the two- 
year-old. 

' He has had a bad night, Nettie,' said John, ' and he 
fears another bad night. I think that nothing can be done 
for him but to watch him and give him cooling things.' 

Nettie bent over her husband and kissed him, weeping. 



292 THE DEMONIAC 

' Here is your boy : sit up and play with him a little— it 
won't hurt you. Nay,' said John, 'it should do you good. 
Here is a fine little laddie for you ! Worth making a bit of 
a fight, for the sake of such a lusty little chap as this — 
isn't it?' The boy ran laughing over the bed into his 
father's arms. ' What a belief a child has in his father !' 
said John, uttering the commonplace as if it was a perfectly 
original remark never before heard of — a discovery newly 
made. Yet, it had its effect. ' Now this boy,' he went on, 
' believes that his father can do no wrong : that his father 
is strong enough to conquer the whole world : that his 
father is able to get anything or be anything that he wishes. 
Fancy the disgust of such a boy as this, if he were to find 
that his father was a coward, a sneaking poltroon, afraid to 
face a bogey !' 

' John,' said Nettie, ' please not to say such things !' 

' I beg your pardon, Nettie. I was speaking generally. 
Well, the next thing is, what we should give this man by 
way of food ? It is now getting on for seven. I think he 
will sleep if we give him food. Will you rest in the other 
room, Nettie ? I will watch him till nightfall.' 

* No, John ; my place is here.' 

She sat down and took George's hands. 

John Carew went out, taking the child with him. 

Husband and wife were left alone. 

Nettie threw her arms round George's neck. 

' My dear — my dear,' she said, ' I must not hide anything 
from you. Last night I found a letter in your pocket 
addressed to a girl, and I was jealous and opened it. The 
letter was five years old, and it told me — oh ! George, it 
told your secret. Then I thought I would follow and drag 
you away from that man. And I took the tram and got to 
the cottage, and stood outside the open window, and saw — 
oh ! George, God help us both ! I saw all — I saw all ! 
Oh ! my husband — oh ! my dear — my poor dear — I saw 
all!' 

' If you saw what was done — if you saw and heard 

Nettie, I have dreaded this discovery ever since I met you. 
I need make no confession — now you know all that there is 
to tell. You have found out all that there was to hide.' 
He sighed heavily. Perhaps it was a relief that the thing 
was known. ' Nettie,' he said, ' since you know so much, 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 293 

you had better know the whole. My name is not Jlum- 
phrey at all.' 

' I know that too. John Cai'ew told me. And you are 
rich. And now I know why you talked so much about 
riches and poverty. But talk no more, dear. Try and 
rest.' 

' As for forgiveness ' said George. 

' Oh ! forgiveness — me to forgive ? Why, dear, if you 
had done these things at home even, there would be no 
question of forgiveness. It is not the man I saw last night 
that I love ; but my George — my good and tender husband 
— the father of my babes. Oh ! my dear, do not speak of 
forgiveness ; you tear my heart ! ' 

****** 

At midnight, George, who had fallen into a gentle sleep, 
awoke with a violent start. He sat up in bed, catching his 
breath with a gasp. He threw off the bedclothes. He 
would have leaped out of bed, but that Nettie laid her hand 
on him. 

' My dear,' she said, ' patience. I am here. Courage 
and patience. It is for the children's sake.' 

She turned up the light. He looked round and remem- 
bered. He was not on the sofa of the cottage. 

' Remember,' she said, ' you have sworn. We have prayed 
together. Oh ! George, for the love of God, for the sake of 
the children !' 

' Take my hand. Take my hand. Speak to me. Let me 
not lose myself. The Devil is here — his fingers are at my 
throat — his burning fingers. Ah !' 

There followed a conflict more determined, more terrible, 
than the historic duello of Christian and Apollyon. It was 
as if Christian had been so often beaten, and so cowed by 
continual defeat, that his heart was taken out of him. Man 
against Devil — man with no other weapon than the shield 
of endurance — Devil armed with all the weapons, sword to 
strike, lance to pierce, red-hot pincers to burn and tear. 

Beside the bed stood or knelt the wife, holding fast her 
husband's hand ; cooling his burning forehead with a wet 
sponge ; soothing, consoling, encouraging him ; praying 
aloud for him, that the Lord would strengthen him in this 
hour of agony ; torn with the anguish of witnessing the 
tortures of one fighting against the most dreadful of all ills 



294 THE DEMONIAC 

which beset body and soul — the maddened craving for 
drink. It was such torture as caused this great man to roll 
about and writhe : it made his eyes start and stare wildly : 
it made him gasp and fight for breath : but he would not 
give in. It seemed the last chance for him — it was really 
only one of the last chances. He would not cry for drink. 

From time to time his mind wandered, and he talked in- 
coherently. 

' " Then," ' he said, quoting from some old voyager, 
' " they sailed their craft for two days along the coast ; and 
the heat of the place was such that they called it Pernam- 
buco, or the Mouth of Hell — so that some of the men went 
mad and jumped overboard, crying for the cool water, and 
so perished miserably. But those who held on presently 
came to a pleasant haven, where there were fruits and 
springs of water and cool breezes ; and so were refreshed 
and comforted." ' 

x\nd so on — talk strange — talk of a man in the intervals 
of torture. When they racked the victims of the Holy 
Inquisition, between the rackings the wretches would 
murmur of sweet streams and soft banks and love, and all 
kinds of pleasant things. Then the screw was turned, and 
they came back to agony. 

For two hours, while the agony brought out the beads 
upon his forehead, and swelled the veins of his neck and 
face, and cramped his limbs. For two hours. Every moment 
of yielding, during the last five years, lengthened the torture : 
every moment of surrender made that torture worse. 

' Oh ! my dear ! — my dear ! — my brave, dear George ! — 
my poor, dear George !' murmured his wife. 

In the room outside, John Carew paced up and down, 
listening. He heard the prayers of the wife : he heard her 
words of comfort and of encouragement. He looked to 
hear the cry of surrender and despair, when he must take 
away the wife and send in the strong men — his garrison, 
who were asleep on the kitchen chairs, ready for action. 
But that cry came not. And he marvelled ; for still the 
wife prayed, and still she encouraged her husband, and 
still there was silence, save for such murmured words as 
you have heard when his mind wandered. 

In all great suffering, in all times of great trouble, there 
comes a supreme moment when it seems as if no more 



THE MOUTH OF HELL 295 

could be borne, but that madness must follow. At this 
moment death comes, or the suffering ceases, and the 
patient lives. 

To Georf^e there came such a moment. He fell back : 
his face was p;hastly : he gasped : his hands were clenched : 
his eyes stared : his limbs were contorted : he seemed to be 
dying. His wife bent over him, breathless. 

Then a change. The ghastliness left his cheeks. He 
closed his eyes : he sighed : he composed his limbs. Was 
he dying? No. He breathed softly: he lay at rest. The 
battle was over. He had beaten the Devil ! 

Presently he opened his eyes. 

' It is over, Nettie. It is all over. The Devil has gone. 
He will not come again for two months. When next he 
comes, we will fight him again. Kiss me, dear. Have no 
longer any fear. Lie down now and rest. Or, one service 
more. Pull back the curtains : let me see the day again.' 
The sky was now splendid with the rising sun. 'Oh! my 
dear — my dear — the new day begins — the new day. Lie 
down and sleep, and let me think of the new day — and of 
the children — and of you. Lie down and sleep, and take 
your rest. Nettie — Nettie — do not cry. It is over. I am 
a free man at last ! I am a free man ! That is ' — and 
here his voice dropped to a whisper, which his wife, 
thanking God upon her knees, heard not — ' that is, I think 
I may be a free man. But I doubt — I doubt. It is a 
cunning Devil !' 



CHAPTEE XVI. 

THE KEW.\RD. 

The political views of the Patager family are divided. Thus, 
the elder Patager takes in the Echo, his son Horatio the 
Star (but, perhaps, more for its sporting tips than for its 
politics), and Victoria's husband takes the Evening Neivs. 
They generally read the whole paper through slowly : it is 
the "chief, sometimes the only, literature of these people : it 
is their sole method of communication with the outer world. 
Many of the lower creatures communicate by means of 
tentacles, filaments, and so forth, with the things around 



296 THE DEMONIAC 

them. It is man's privilege to communicate with tne world 
around him by means of the newspapers. They administer 
to him, when he can learn it, a daily lesson in humanity. 
They also provide for him his principal means of taking 
pleasure. How else, or where, can one get a whole evening's 
amusement for the ridiculous sum of one halfpenny ? 

Mr. Patager, senior, industriously and regularly reads all 
the advertisements right through. He keeps this part of 
the paper, indeed, for the last : it is his honne bouche : it 
gives him more satisfaction even than the correspondence 
columns. The announcement of houses to be let or sold, of 
lodgings offered to young men, of situations vacant or wanted, 
of profitable exchanges, of things to be sold, of great bar- 
gains—all alike, if not equally, interest him — I know not 
why, except as a love story may, for the memories it awakens, 
interest an ancient dame. Mostly, of course, he delights in 
the personal advertisements. He reads with pleasure the 
reminder to H. B. that his wife awaits him with forgive- 
ness : the hint from Queenie that she expects Tom at the 
next appointment, or she must seek advice : the thieves' tip 
conveyed in a piece of information concerning A. B., of 
Bradford : the recall of the prodigal son, with the promise 
of a fatted calf : all these things may be turned by an ima- 
ginative mind into romance, comedy, and tragedy. We 
know that if H. B. does return to his wife, he will probably 
meet with reproaches harder to bear than the oaken cudgel : 
we are quite sure that Queenie has already deposited all 
Tom's letters with a solicitor, and that she awaits with 
cheerfulness either the wedding-ring or substantial damages ; 
and if we have any experience at all of prodigal sons, this 
one most certainly will not come back so long as a single 
shilling remains, because, you see, the domestic fatted calf 
is insipid compared with the same dish served up hot and 
hot, with the ladies and gentlemen in the flowery path. 

This evening, Mr. Patager, senior, read in its turn an 
advertisement which at first he nearly passed by. Then 
something in it caught his eye, and he read it again, with 
attention. 

' My dear,' he said, looking up slowly, ' there is some- 
thing very strange about this.' 

' About what ?' 

' About this advertisement. Listen : 



THE REWARD 297 

' " Fifty Pounds Eewakd. — The alcove reward will be 
paid to anyone who will give information as to the present 
residence of George Atheling, gentleman, of Atheling 
Com't, Bucks, if he is living ; or as to the time and place of 
his death, if he is dead. He was last heard of in January, 
1887. The said George Atheling is about twenty-eight years 
of age : he is six feet three inches in height : he has blue 
eyes and dark -brown hair : he is broad-shouldered and 
strong : his voice is low and musical. He has, perhaps, 
assumed some other name. Address Messrs. Mansfield and 
Westbury, sohcitors, 109, New Square, Lincoln's Inn." ' 

* Why — good gracious, my dear !' The wife jumped out 
of her chair. ' Let me read it ! " Six feet three," " blue 
eyes," "dark-brown hair," "broad-shouldered," "twenty- 
eight," "his voice " Why — why — who — who' — she 

gasped — ' who should it be but our Nettie's George?' 

'Our Nettie's George! No other !' Mr. Patager echoed 
solemnly. ' They have advertised for him. Now, what does 
that mean ? " Gentleman, of Atheling Court " — of Atheling 
Court — it can't be ; yet the description, my dear, tallies in 
every particular.' 

' Let me read it again,' said the wife. ' My dear, all I've 
prophesied has come true.' She returned the paper and sat 
down with a smile of triumph. ' Often and often have I 
said, " That man's done something. Some day he'll be 
found out," and now j'ou see.' 

' It certainly does look like it. But the name is different, 
and " gentleman," you see, not journalist.' 

' We're all gentlemen, I suppose,' said his wife. 

' In the City, yes. But we draw the line at journalists.' 

' Fifty Pounds Eeward !' said the wife, looking at her 
husband with meaning. 

'I wonder what he's done?' said the husband. ' Em- 
bezzlement, perhaps — forgery, perhaps ' 

' Fifty Pounds Eeward !' the wife repeated. * Fifty 
Pounds Eeward ! My dear, why shouldn't we have that 
money ?' 

' What ! And give up my own son-in-law to justice ? 
Shame! Shame!' 

' If you come to that, somebody else will very soon give 
him up. Better you than a stranger. Why, you might 



298 THE DEMONIAC 

make terms for him, and still put the money in your pocket. 
Go yourself and see these lawyers.' 

Mr. Patager stared at his wife. To betray his daughter's 
husband was one thing. To ask what the lawyers meant, 
and, if there was no betraying, to put fifty pounds in his 
pocket, was quite another thing. 

' My poor Nettie !' sighed the mother. ' What in the 
world will she do now ? Her husband found out, clapped 
in prison, brought before the judge, found guilty, condemned 
to penal servitude. Well ! it's one comfort that the head- 
strong girl got no consent from us. She went into it of her 
own stubborn will. You remember she would have the 
man.' 

' She would have him. That's one comfort. But it's a 
dreadful disgrace, think of that ! My dear,' he got up 
slowly, ' the least we can do is to warn him : T will step 
round. He may be able to get off in time ' 

' I'll come too,' said his wife. ' In her time of trouble, 
Nettie shan't say we've deserted her. Besides, we may find 
out what he's done.' 

They walked down the road together. The house was in 
darkness, and shut up. No one answered the bell : it was 
deserted. 

What had happened ? 

The pair looked at each other. 

' I know,' said the wife. ' He's been warned. He's taken 
Nettie and the babies and the gal, and he's run for it. He 
will get over to America, where they'll never catch him, and 
we shall never see Nettie any more.' 

' I hope it may be so. I hope he'll get away. I do hope 
he'll get away !' 

' And to-morrow you'll go and see those lawyers and find 
out what he's wanted for, and you may claim that reward. 
Fifty pounds ! it'll come in handy ; and since Nettie's gone 
out of the way, and the babies and all, and no more harm 
can come to her, and somebody else'll get that money, you 
go first thing to-morrow morning to the lawyers.' 

' Well, my dear, it does seem like betraying of your own 
flesh and blood, doesn't it? I don't altogether like it.' 

' Nonsense ! How are you ever going to get on if you won't 
even pick up what lies at your feet ? Now, my dear,' she 
turned upon her husband with a kind of fierceness, ' what 



THF. REWARD 299 

did I always say ? What did I tell you ? A man forced to 
go into hiding ! Now, I hope I shall be believed another 
time !' 

They w^nt home together, but apart : the woman full of 
a fierce joy — the son-in-law whom she hated had come to 
grief ; the man full of shame and pity. 

In a certain billiard-room Horatio Patager sat watching 
the game of pool. He never played pool at all, nor billiards 
unless he could find a player worse than himself, because 
his stroke was uncertain and his play flukey. He sat and 
looked on, he smoked cigarettes all the time, he laid a shilling 
now and then, and when he could afford it he drank a 
whisky-and-soda. 

This evening he held in his hand a copy of the Star, at 
which he glanced from time to time, but lazily, because this 
evening the journal was mostly political. Suddenly he 
started : he changed colour : he dropped his cigarette. You 
have heard already what he read. 

' Why,' he murmured, ' it's his very description. It's his 
likeness to the hfe. Every point of it is his likeness. Six 
feet three high, blue eyes, dark-brown hair, broad-shoul- 
dered, low voice — there can't be two like him. " Gentle- 
man " they call him ! We're all gentlemen, if you come to 
that. " Of Atheling Court." Name of the place where he 
comes from. Changed his name. Fifty Pounds Eeward ! 
I wonder what he's done ? I wonder what he'll get? Well, 
I'm sorry for Nettie. But it serves her right. Fifty Pounds 
Reward ! Ha ! I always knew he'd done something. 
Changed his name. Fifty Pounds Eeward !' 

He left the bilHard-room and strolled in the direction of 
his sister's house. He would look in, perhaps, casually, 
just to see the man for whose capture they were going to 
give Fifty Pounds Reward. This was the man who ordered 
Nettie not to lend him anything. Ha! The time had 
come. Vengeance ! 

He could not gaze upon the man at so interesting a crisis 
of his fortunes, because the house was dark and shut up. 

' He must have bolted,' said Horatio, ' and has taken 
Nettie and the kids with him. Never mind, they can easilv 
be followed, and— and — and — I'll get that reward, or I'll 
know the reason why.' 



300 THE DEMONIAC 

Victoria's husband, we have seen, read the Evening Nc2cs. 
He read it after supper, when there was nothing left of the 
day except an hour of tobacco and rest. 

He, too, chanced presently upon the advertisement. 

' Vic,' he said, changing colour, ' what was George 
Humphrey before he came here ?' 

' I don't know. Nobody knows, not even Nettie. She pre- 
tends to know, but she doesn't really know. He won't tell.' 

' He wasn't always a penny-a-liner, Vic' 

' Very likely not. ' 

' It's my opinion that he was formerly a gentleman. I 
mean — of course, we are all gentlemen, but I mean a swell 
with money. There's swell written all over him ; and as 
for money, he buys things without asking their price. 
Nobody but a born swell ever does that. And he spends 
sixpence as if he was made of sixpences.' 

' What are you driving at, Charhe ? There's something 
on your mind.' 

' Well, I told you what the chap from Melbourne said. 
" No such name in the place," he said. Now let me go on. 
George was once a swell^ — I'm sure of it. George is down 
in his luck — why ? George has got through his money : 
George has done something ' 

'Ah!' cried Vic, waking up, and now thoroughly in- 
terested. 

' They always do something when there is no more money. 
It's the regular rule. They cheat at cards, generally ; they 
welsh at races ; they run races on the cross ; they forge 
their fathers' names ; they've no principle at all. That is 
because the swells are not brought up moral, hke us. They 
can't resist temptation, you see, hke us, when it comes.' 

' What do you think he's done, Charhe ?' Vic whispered. 

' Forgery, most likely. Very well, suppose it was found 
out, and they wanted him, how would they set about it?' 

' Why, they would advertise for him, I suppose.' 

' Just so, just so, Vic. You've exactly hit it, my dear. 
They would advertise for him. And now listen to this.' 

He read the advertisement aloud. 

' Good gracious me !' cried his wife. ' It can't be meant 
for any other man. It can't be. There are surely not two 
men in the world like that. Oh, my poor Nettie ! What- 
ever in the world will she do ?' 



THE REWARD 301 

'The very first time I saw him,' Charlio continued, 'I 
said to myself, " This man's a real swell — none of your 
common mashers." Ever since I've been looking for this. 
Well, he's had a long rope.' 

'Whatever in the world will Nettie do?' asked Vic. 
' Charlie, I shall go and see her this minute. Perhaps she 
hasn't even been warned.' 

' Fifty Pounds Eeward, Vic ! Fifty Pounds Eeward ! I 
say, what couldn't we do with fifty pounds ?' 

Nettie was not at home, nor anybody. The house was 
quite dark, and no one answered the bell. 

' Good gracious !' said Victoria. ' Something's happened 
already. Do you think he's caught, and sent to prison 
already ? Would they let Nettie and the children into the 
gaol with him ?' 

' Fifty Pounds Eeward ! Vic. If we don't touch that 
money, someone else will ; and we can't do Nettie any 
harm, because he's certain to be caught. A big man like 
that has no chance. Shows what a blessed thing it is to be 
short,' said Charlie, who stood five feet three in his boots. 
' I dare say you've often envied Nettie for having such a big 
husband. Now, you see, he's so big that he can't get 
away.' 

At half-past nine next morning, when the clerks of 
Mansfield and Westbury's began to arrive, they found a 
young fellow w^aiting outside the door, which is on the first 
floor. He explained that he had come about an advertise- 
ment, and he produced the Star of the day before. He was 
told that he could come in and wait till the arrival of Mr. 
Westbury. That event generally happened a little before 
ten. 

It happened this morning as usual. The young man was 
asked his name. He said — but nobody believed the state- 
ment — that it was ' Concerning-an-advertisement.' 

Being shown to Mr. Westbury's private room, he opened 
the paper and pointed to the advertisement. 

' Well, sir?' asked the lawyer. 

' I know the house where he lives and the place where he 
works. Give me the money, and I will give you the infor- 
mation.' 

' Not so fast. Who are you, pray ?' 

' My name is Horatio Patager. I am a clerk in the City. 



302 THE DEMONIAC 

He married my sister. That will show you that I ought to 
know.' 

' Well, sir, I am sorry to inform you- 



Ah ! well, I'd rather not learn — don'tcher know '?' 
Horatio interrupted with a blush, which shows that the 
young man had still left in him a spark of grace. ' I'd 
rather not have that information. Keep it to yom'self. I 
dessay I shall hear all about it some tune or another. 
Give me the money, and I'll tell you where to find him. 
It's only a matter of business. I want a few words with a 
certain gentleman, says you, whose address I happen to 
have lost. I'll reward anyone who'll take me to that gentle- 
man, says you. Fifty Pounds is the figure, says you. If 
that's all you want, says I, why, the gentleman is my own 
brother-in-law. Gome along, give me the money, and I'll 
show you where he lives.' 

'Oh!' 

' You see, in the Gity we are all business men. There's 
no friendship in busmess. Everybody knows that. A 
bargain's a bargain. I don't ask what you mean to do with 
your information.' 

' Do you know anything about the previous life of your 
brother-in-law ?' 

'No, I don't; but I can pretty well guess,' the young 
man replied, with a look of so much meaning that the lawyer 
felt inclined to knock him down off hand. ' Gome, sir, I 
don't ask what you want him for. No doubt,' he grinned, 
' it's to give him a little fortune. That's what generally 
happens when a man is wanted, isn't it ?' 

' In a word, sir, you have come here with the intention of 
betraying your own sister's husband ! Well, you'll be sorry 
to learn that you are too late. We know that Mr. George 
Atheling, otherwise George Humphrey, lives in the Daffodil 
Koad, and we know where that road is. You can go, sir !' 

Horatio turned white. Ever since the reading of the 
advertisement, all through the dark watches of the night, 
he had been thinking of this glorious windfall It was 
already in his grasp : he had his hands upon it. Heavens ! 
What a fiing he might have with fifty pounds ! And now it 
was gone I 

* You can go,' the lawyer repeated. 

' I don't beheve you know !' cried the disappointed clerk. 



THE REWARD 303 

' You won't give the money to me. Yet I'm the first. It's 
mine by riglit — you've advertised it — I'll have it too, if 
there's law in the land !' 

' Plenty of law. Plenty of law. Go and look for it. 
Now, sir.' 

The lawyer looked big and threatening. Horatio retired. 

About eleven there arrived an elderly gentleman, who 
requested to see one of the principals, and said he had 
called about an advertisement. 

' Sir,' he said, ' I have many reasons to believe that the 
person advertised for in last night's A'c/w is my own son-in-law.' 

' indeed. Then you could tell me his place of residence, 
no doubt.' 

' I certainly could. But I should like, first of all, to 
know what he has done. If it's anything very bad — any- 
thing that brings him within the law — you might be merci- 
ful enough to let me know, on account of my daughter, 
poor girl ! Her mother has always been of opinion that 
George has done something, and that he is in hiding. For 
my own part, I cannot believe otherwise than that ho, is an 
honest man.' 

' Well, sir ?' 

' i\Iy wife thinks that I ought to give this information, 
and to claim the reward, because fifty pounds doesn't come 
in our way every day. But I say — No, not if it is to bring 
trouble upon my daughter's head. Therefore, sir, if it is 
trouble, I will withhold the information and go away.' 

' Upon my word, sir, I am very sorry that we cannot give 
you the reward under the circumstances. Unfortunately, 
you are too late. We know where to find our man.' 

* Oh !' JMr. Patager sighed. ' I am glad that the reward 
will not come to me— though my wife — but you are your- 
self, perhaps, a married man, sir — and she would have— to 
me it did seem like selling my daughter's husband.' 

' Be easy, sir. You shall not sell your son-in-law.' 

' Then, sir, if I may ask the — the reason for the advertise- 
ment — what my unhappy son-in-law has done ' 

' I fear, Mr. Patager, that I cannot, for the moment, in- 
form you. Let it suhice that we know where to find him.' 

' Shall you send him up for trial ? He has a wife and 
children : consider — it will be my daughter's ruin !' 



304 THE DEMONIAC 

'Bless the man!' cried the lawyer. 'Why will you 
assume that he has done anything ? You shall learn — if it 
is thought fit to tell you — all in good time. Go home, sir, 
and be easy.' 

At half-past one — in the dinner-hour — there appeared a 
third person, again a young man. He said he called about 
an advertisement. 

' Well, sir,' said Mr. Westbury. ' You know where to lay 
your hand upon the gentleman for whom we are adver- 
tising, I suppose ?' 

' I do, sir.' 

' And you are come to draw the reward ?' 

' I certainly am — as soon as you have received and proved 
my intelligeDce. Not before. I am a man of business. In 
a Bank.' 

' Mr. Atheling's brother, or cousin, or father, I suppose?' 

' I married his wife's sister. That is how I know. Well, 
sir, you want his address. I can give it. I don't ask what 
he has done, or why you want him.' 

' Just so. You are a purely disinterested person, anxious 
only that justice shall be done, even on your nearest rela- 
tives ?' 

' As for that,' said the virtuous Charles, ' I've got nothing 
to do with justice. I answer an advertisement.' 

' Quite so. Well, sir, your truly honourable purpose is 
defeated. You can tell your brother-in-law that you wished 
to sell him, but that you were anticipated.' 

' Is it Horatio ?' Charles asked anxiously. ' He is quite 
capable of it. I hope that you will consider, sir. I came 
here as soon as I could. I submit that half of the reward 
should be mine — half — things are very tight. My screw is 
only a hundred and fifty.' 

The lawyer pointed to the door. 

In the course of the day a great many people came ' about 
an advertisement.' In fact, it was so easy to spot the man 
from the description, that everyone who saw the advertise- 
ment, and knew George Humphrey by appearance, imme- 
diately rushed to the solicitors, in hopes of getting that 
rew^ard. Thus, the family butcher, the family baker, the 
family grocer, the family milkman, the family shoemaker, 



THE REWARD 305 

the policemau, the pew-opener, the proprietor of the Clerk- 
land Observer, the printers of that paper, the office boy — all 
came and said they wanted fifty pounds for their informa- 
tion. They all said they knew the gentleman, and where 
he lived. They mostly added that they could guide any- 
body to the house, so that he could be ' taken up ' without 
trouble. This shows what inferences are drawn when a 
man is advertised for. And they went away in great sadness 
when they found they were too late. How seldom comes 
such a chance ! 

One has watched the people who stand in front of the 
proclamation outside police-stations : ' Murder ! One Hun- 
dred Pounds Beward !' How eagerly they read the notice ! 
How they yearn and long and pray for the opportunity of 
betraying some poor wretch to his doom ! There are cases 
on record, I have been told, in which a man, having once 
gained such a reward, has given up honest work for ever 
after, and now lives in the hope of getting another ; nay, it 
is said that he will even endeavour to play the part of 
' Jonathan Wild,' though in these days of suspicion it is a 
difficult nuHier. However this may be, there certainly are 
men who dream continually of getting such a prize, just as 
there are men who dream of winning a prize in an Austrian 
Lottery. 

Next day there were more applicants — and the day after 
— and for many days — belated unfortunates who only saw 
the paper the day after — miserable ! thus to miss a chance 
so rare ! As the years roll on and the chance never comes 
again, many little romances will grow up : it will be told 
how the fifty-pound prize was missed by an hour, by half an 
hour, by a quarter of an hour, by ten minutes — five — three 
— one. By a couple of yards, after a race all the way — by 
a foot — a neck — a nose ! It will be a distinction even to 
have been beaten by a whole day. 

Mr. and Mrs. Patager were in low spirits. Their son-in- 
law had been advertised for : everybody knew, by this time, 
the disgraceful fact. There would be but one opinion — he 
had done something, the nature of which could not be as- 
certained. He had fled. His wife had gone with him. 
The advice of the lawyer to keep his mind easy failed to 
comfort Mr. Patager. How to face the neighbours ? How 

20 



3o6 THE DEMONIAC 

to stand up in the family-pew with all eyes turned in their 
direction ? How to carry round the plate after the service, 
conscious that everybody was whispering : ' And his son-in- 
law has been obhged to lly the country !' 

They were alone. Horatio w^as out, as usual, seeking 
consolation in his own way. 

' We are disgraced,' said the father. ' I suppose it will 
soon become known in the City. I shall never get over the 
shame of it.' Mr. Patager is not the only man who thinks 
that the eyes of the whole City are always watching him 
with envy and respect. Indeed, it is a wholesome belief : 
it has led to the foundation of many chantries, chapels, and 
almshouses and schools, and it keeps many young men 
straight. 

' I always said it. I always said it,' the wife repeated. 
The confirmation or proof, so to speak, of the prophetic gift 
is the commonest form of consolation. 

' You always did, my dear. We shall remember that. It 
does your penetration the highest credit. You always said 
that he'd done something.' 

' Something disgraceful, I said.' 

' Something disgraceful. Yes, of course, something dis- 
graceful' 

Here the door opened and Victoria appeared. 
' Oh ! my dear,' her mother groaned. ' Here's an awful 
thing! However in the world shall we ever get_ over 
it ? Well, I always said — you remember, Victoria — I 
always said that he must have committed some dreadful 
crime.' 

' Stuff and rubbish !' replied her daughter unexpectedly. 
' Crime, indeed !' 

' Why — he's been advertised for !' 

' Yes, and I wish they'd advertise for Charlie on the same 
terms. He went round at dinner-time to inquire about the 
reward, you know, but of course Horatio had been before 
him. That boy is capable of any meanness. I suppose he's 
out now spending the Reward at the music-halls !' 

' The disgrace of it !' moaned the elder lady, wringing her 
hands. 

' You and your disgrace !' Vic replied shortly. ' Why, it's 
money — that's what it is. There's no crime in it — and no 
shame in it — and no disgrace. You ought to be ashamed to 



THE REWARD 307 

be so ready with your crimes. I suppose you'll say that 
Charlie has disgraced himself next ?' 

' Money '?' asked the father, because the lady was too 
astonished to reply. 

' They're back again. Now, look, George was at John 
Carew's last night and he was taken very bad — awful 
bad. Nettie hurried round there with the children, because 
he thought he might die. She nursed him all night. He's 
better this morning, and the lawyers saw him. That's all 
the story. Now they've come back.' 

' Money ? How much ?' 

' I don't know how much. You know Nettie— how close 
she's always been about her husband. She won't tell me 
how much. He'd changed his name, and they wanted to 
know whether he was dead or alive. Disgrace ! As if 
George — our George — could disgrace himself ! Mother, I'm 
ashained of you — such a suspicion !' 

Here was a volte-face. It was worthy of a political 
leader. 

' Come, Vic, you've said yourself — a hundred times ' 

' No, mother — not that, if you please. I may have heard 
you say it, and I know my duty, and perhaps I shall have 
children of my own — but disgrace — with George — George 
Atheling, gentleman, of Atheling Court — our Nettie's 
George ? And him with money ! Mother, I'm ashamed of 
you, I am !' 

CHAPTEE XVII. 

THE LAST. 

' Tell Elinor,' said George, 'that I have taken her at her 
word. I shall see her again when I can go back to her as I 
once thought myself — master of myself. And not till then.' 

' You are already master of yourself. You proved so much 
last night,' said the Professor. 

' It is not enough to prove it once. I have to prove it 
again. Y^'et two months more, and the time will have come 
round for the next attack.' 

' You need have no fear now.' 

' Perhaps not. I am partly convinced that the fury of 
last night's attack, and of every second night, is due to the 



3o8 THE DEMONIAC 

yielding of the first night. No. I have Httle fear. But we 
shall see. Meantime, Nettie knows all. I have concealed 
nothing from her. She agrees with me that until I can feel 
myself really a free man, I have no right to resume my old 
place. When I can do so, I will return, and bring her with 
me and the children.' 

' Yes. To your old place — your own place — and the old 
ambitions.' 

George shook his head. 

' Not the old ambitions. They are gone. They are im- 
possible, henceforth. My career was ruined that first night 
at Cambridge when, half mad and half asleep, 1 seized the 
whisky-bottle. The man who has once been a slave can 
never afterwards command. The spirit of authority is gone 
from him. He may become a free man, but never with the 
old mastership. You know the old galley-slave by the 
dragging leg. All the rest of my life you will see the dragging 
leg of the man who has been a slave. Henceforth, the best 
thing I can hope for is to live retired, and to do no harm to 
anybody.' 

They returned to Daffodil Eoad. 

George repaired as usual to the office of his paper next 
morning. He was received with universal astonishment. 
Everybody stared at him. They thought, you see, that he 
was already arrested and lodged in prison. Except for the 
actual details of the crime, everything was certain. Yet 
here he was turning up again as if nothing had happened ! 

The proprietor beckoned him into his private room. Here 
he showed him the advertisement. 

' Well ?' asked George, reading it. ' The advertisement is 
meant for me. Do you mean that ? I have already seen 
the solicitors about the business. What is the meaning of 
all this mystery ?' 

' Why — I thought — it's no use bouncing about it — there's 

time yet, if you like ' He jerked his left thumb over 

his left shoulder. 

' Oh ! you think I was — what is called — wanted.' 
' I'm sure you were. Can't think anything else.' 
' I suppose not. Fortunately, however, it was not the 
police who wanted me, you see, but my friends.' 

' Oh !' The proprietor's face dropped. ' You are going 
to stay, after Jail ?' 



THE LAST 309 

' For a time — yes.' 

The Proprietor's expressive countenance showed the 
greatest disappointment. 

' Ah !' he said. ' It's a dreadful pity. It would have 
made a splendid bill. Look here. I've had it set up 
already.' lie unrolled a poster, all in red, and all the 
words in separate lines and big capitals: '"Arrest of the 
Sub-Editor ! Fifty pounds Reward ! Attempted FHght ! Too 
late ! The Crime ! The Perpetrator ! The Motive ! Alleged 
Confession ! The Ruined Home ! The Desolate Hearth ! 
Where is Father? A Weeping Wife !" ' 

'Dear me!' said George, looking at this work of Art 
critically. ' What a pity that such a splendid bill should 
be wasted !' 

' A pity, truly. And you look on as if you didn't care tw^o- 
pence !' 

' Well, I don't, if you come to that. Do you want me to 
stop outside and commit a crime or two for the sake of your 
poster ?' 

'You may laugh, sir, as much as you like.' The. Pro- 
prietor turned red. His temper, hke his person, was short. 
' But let me tell you, sir, that no one in my employ laughs 
at me. No one, sir. No one !' 

' Very well. Then I leave your employment at once.' 
George put on his hat in token of emancipation. ' Now 
that I have left it, I suppose you will allow me to laugh at 



you 



The Proprietor, fat and pursy, looked up at this great 
giant and trembled. He remembered that he had never 
had a Sub-Editor half or quarter so good, and never should 
get another like him. So he made haste to excuse himself. 

' You might make a little allowance, Mr. Humphrey, for 
my little disappointment. No one knows better than you 
what a fillip it would have given the paper.' 

' So it would— so it would. Well, let us go on again for 
a bit.' George was placable. He took off his hat, and 
resumed his usual seat. ' Hand me the scissors and the 
paste,' he said. ' Pass me the pen and ink. I remain the 
Sub-Editor.' 

In the months of August and September, when even the 
residents of this quarter manage something of a holiday, 
except when things are at their very tightest, George con- 



3IO THE DEMONIAC 

tiuued at his desk working as before. By tacit consent, the 
night of the great Conflict was seldom spoken of between 
his wife and himself. They were to wait for the next battle 
and its result. After a second decisive victory the futm-e 
would be considered. Great changes cast their shadows 
before. Nettie was already conscious that the little house 
was too Httle. New wants were already budding in her 
brain : a higher standard of household expenditure was 
attained and duly practised. 

' Four weeks from to-day, dear,' said George, on the first 
of September. He referred to the coming struggle. 

' You are looking stronger than ever, George. I can see a 
change in you : your very eyes are stronger.' 

' Three weeks from to-day,' he said on the eighth of 
September. 

' If you fought well that night, dear,' she said, ' you will 
fight ten times as well in three weeks from to-day.' 

' Only a fortnight,' he said on the fifteenth. 
' The sooner it comes the better, dear. I shall be with 
you, as I was before, all night long.' 

' Only a week now,' he said on the twenty-second. 
' That is all, dear. We shall soon have it over now.' 

' This evening, dear.' It was the twenty-ninth. 

' Go for a walk, George. Take a good long walk. Tire 
yourself, if you can ; and think of nothing but of victory and 
strength. These great arms— these broad shoulders — what 
a man you are, George ! Never was such a strong man. 
You were born to be a fighting man, George.' 

' You are a flattering Siren. Well, I am a little nervous 
and a little excited. I will go for that walk, and make it 
last all day. We will have dinner at half -past seven. After 
that, we will gird on the armour and wait.' 

' Do you think that man will come ?' 

' I don't know. He has made no sign since July. Let 
him come, if he likes.' 

He went out, and stayed out, walking along the gritty 
road fifteen measured miles out, and fifteen back again. He 
came home a little tired, but looking in splendid condition. 
They talked of other things : the children — trivial things of 



THE LAST 311 

the household. But from time to time Nettie glanced at her 
husband. He grew silent and thouglitful ; his face was set. 
She had seen it so, but harder, more determined, on that 
night when he made her hold his hands, as if her very touch 
could give him strength. I verily believe that no act of his 
had so much endeared him to his wife as that little prayer 
that she would hold his hand while he went down into the 
Mouth of Hell. 

The evening was dark and cold. The lamp had long been 
lit : a fire was burning on the hearth : the children were in 
bed. The pair sat opposite each other — neither speaking. 

Suddenly, without any preliminary ringing of the bell or 
monitory knocker, the door opened noiselessly, and the man 
Mavis stood before them. 

He stood with down -dropped eyes, holding his hat in his 
two hands, his cheeks paler than ever. He said nothing, 
not a word. 

' George !' — Nettie sprang to her feet, and threw her arms 
round his neck, ' you shall not go with this man ! You shall 
not !' 

' Don't be afraid, my dear. Why do you come here 
to-night. Mavis ?' 

' You forget. It is the usual time : I am not here before 
my time. Business at Boston !' 

' Oh, I thought you understood, at the end of last July, 
that I had given up that job. No more business at Boston 
for me, Mavis — and no more business with you 1' 
Mavis took one step into the room. 

' I don't think, sir,' he said, becoming the man-servant 
again, ' that I rightly understand. You are never going to 
give up that business in Boston ! You can't do it, sir. 
Excuse my speaking before your good lady ; but you can't 
do it. To night the job must be begun. Think of that 
night aboard ship. Think of last July only. There was a 
job !' 

' It was. Mavis, a devil of a job ! Well — I now speak 
quite plainly. The cottage is held by a yearly tenancy : I 
shall not renew it. Your service can be determined at a 
month's notice. Take that notice. There will then be 
three months' wages due to you.' He got up, took his 
cheque-book from a draw^er and wrote a cheque. 'There 
they are. You can go. I dismiss you.' 



312 THE DEMONIAC 

'After five years' faithful service? It's hard!' Mavis 
began. 

' Don't whimper, Mavis. You've had out of me during 
the last three years the best part of a thousand pounds. I 
drevv^ a thousand pomids when I came to live here. I have 
kept myself and my house on my earnings. You've had that 
thousand pounds. Come now, it's three hundred a year. 
You must have saved a hundred and fifty a year, at least, 
out of that. And then there's that cheque of £5,000 — a 
good lump-sum that. Mavis — does you credit — that you got 
out of me at a certain critical moment, when I did not know 
what I was doing, yet could do what I was told to do. 
That was a great stroke, Mavis. That does you great 
credit, infinite credit. Equalled only by the wise conduct 
of the voyage.' 

' You gave it to me of your own free-will : I'll swear you did !' 
' You may swear if you please. I suppose I gave you 
that second cheque of £5,000 as well : the one you lost, I 
mean. Now, Mavis, there was a third person present on 
that occasion, who looked on and overheard everything — -a 
person in the garden, and the window was open. Well ! 
have you got anything more to say ?' 

Mavis turned to go. He had nothing more to say. 
' Stay, Mavis. I am curious to know what you propose 
to do. You have got, I take it, during these five years, 
something like six or seven thousand pounds quietly put 
by. ' Mavis smiled. ' You can retire from service. What 
are you going to do?' 

' I shall go back to Cambridge.' 
' Not to be a gyp again ?' 

' No, sir. I did intend going back before, but I was 
anxious about that second cheque, which you really did give 
me, but took it away again, I suppose, when I was asleep. 
I shall go back to Cambridge, and I shall do a little money- 
lending. The gentlemen are not what they were, neither 
for drink nor for betting and gambling. But there's still 
money to be made, and I'm a prudent man, sir, as you 
could testify.' 

' I could, indeed. Farewell, Mavis !' 

' I would only wish to sa y, sir, that if on any future 
occasion, say to-night or to-morrow night, you want me 
you have only to send for me. I bear no grudge, sir, for 



THEILAST 313 

your changing your mind about the second cheque ; and it 
really was a good lump for gratitude, wasn't it? I can 
come w'henever you send for me ; and I can stay as long as 
you like. On the old terms.' 

He was gone. The wife breathed again. 

George tilled and lit a pipe, which he worked through 
without a word. Then he spoke. 

' There were once, my dear,' he began, ' two boys at 
school ; one was a bully and the other a coward. The bully 
licked the coward once a week. After a year or two the 
coward began to feel ashamed. One day he stood up to the 
bully, and licked Jiim. A week later the bully came back 
and offered battle once more. I shall nosv, my dear, go 
upstairs and have it out with that bully.' 

At two o'clock in the morning he started from his sleep, 
panting, gasping, rolling his shoulders. 

His wife, who watclied beside him, caught his hand. 

' George !' she cried. ' George ! I am here. Rouse your- 
self. Eemember !' 

He opened his eyes and saw her. 

' Take my hand,' he murmured. ' The Devil has come 
again !' 

Why — this battle was over in a quarter of an hour. It 
was nothing compared with the long and doubtful combat 
of that second night. 

' It is gone, my dear,' he said. ' Give me a glass of water. 
Thank God ! I have got the mastery at last !' 

He lay back and fell asleep instantly. 

There remained the second attack. Again George went 
out for a long walk — again he came home tired. 

' I ought to sleep well to-night,' he said cheerfully. He 
was in the best of spirits and full of courage. He expected 
no further trouble at all. 

At nine o'clock he took a pipe. Nettie, exhausted with 
yesterday's watching, began to fall asleep in her chair. He 
persuaded her to go to bed, promising to awaken her if he 
was roused by the old symptoms. x\las ! she obeyed. She 
left him alone. Many mistakes had been committed in the 
management of this case. None so fatal as the last. He 
presently laid down his pipe. His eyes dropped. He, too, 
fell asleep. It was then only nine. He slept peacefully in 
his chair till past eleven. 



314 THE DEMONIAC 

Then be awoke with a start and sprang to his feet. Once 
more the old overwhehning wave of a longing, yearning, 
irresistible thirst seized him. As of old he resisted no 
longer. 

He reeled out of the room, panting — there was no drink : 
he seized bis hat, threw open the door, and ran down the 
steps. At the garden-gate stood Mavis— faithful creature — 
waiting. Was he, then, a prophet ? 

' I expected you,' he said. ' Come, it will take us a 
quarter of an hour or more. Why didn't you come yester- 
day ?' 

' You are the Devil himself,' said George. 
They reached the cottage. On the table stood the bottles 
and the glasses. George fell upon them as he bad fallen 
on them that first night of all. He attempted no resist- 
ance. He thought of no resistance. He was once more 
wholly possessed of that Devil. The man Mavis looked on 
in silence watching, as a good servant ought to do, without 
the least emotion. 

Ten minutes later the first force of the attack was spent. 
George sat in the old place, in the arm-chair at the head of 
the table. He looked around him. 

Suddenly he remembered. He thought of Nettie and the 
children. He leaned his head on his hands. He was as 
yet only at the beginning of the great surrender. He was 
still sober, even though he had surrendered. At such a 
time a simple half -bottle of ardent spirit counts for httle. 
He was sober, and he could think. 

' I have half an hour to spare,' he said, ' before it comes 
again. Perhaps less. Well, I must be quick.' 

He drew out his pocket-book and found a post-card. He 
wrote a few Hues on it and addressed it. Then he rose and 
put on his hat. 

' I am going to post this note,' he said. 

' Let me post it for you, sir,' said Mavis respectfully. 

' No ; go on mixing the drinks. 

He went out. At the head of the lane he knew there 
was a pillar-post. He walked up the lane and dropped in 
his post-card. 

' There,' he murmured, ' the thing is as good as done.' 

He turned and walked back. But when he reached the 
gate he stopped. 



THE LAST 315 

' Devil !' he said, ' I am going to cheat you at last.' 

The laue continues eastward a little when it reaches the 
river Lea, which is here crossed by one of the many bridges 
which span it on its southward course. 

lie leaned over the bridge and looked at the dark water 
below. 

' I knew all along,' he said, ' that the Devil would be too 
cunning. For Nettie's sake — for the children's sake.' He 
put one leg over the wall leisurely, and looked down into 
the dark water. ' The Doctor said that I nught kill myself 
for the sake of someone whom She will be broken- 
hearted for a bit. Then she will come round. Besides, 
there are the boys to look after. And she'll have all that 
money, if that can console her.' He put the other leg over 
and sat upon the wail, dangling his feet. His throat began 
to make itself felt. ' Life,' he said, ' has become impossible. 
I can no longer surrender, and I cannot fight. Both are 
impossible. Yet if I had Nettie's hand in mine. . . . No — 
no— it is impossible.' His throat began to scorch and burn. 
' Devil !' he said, ' cold water for you this time !' He 
leaned forward and rolled over into the river, and sank be- 
neath the waters. 

When John Carew came out of his bedroom in the morn- 
ing, he found on the top of his letters a post-card, with a note 
in pencil : 

' The Cottage. Midnight. The Devil has proved too 
strong, after all. I always thought he would. For Nettie's 
sake I am going to put an end to the whole business im- 
mediately. I am on my way to drop off the High Bridge 
into the river Lea, where you will find me to-morrow, I dare 
say, if you look for me. Ask Elinor, for my sake, to be 
kind to Nettie and the children. 

' Geoegb.' 

Nettie was wandering about the house. She could not 
sit still — she could not settle to anything. She was filled 
with the presentiment of coming evil. 

She had slept all through the night until eight in the 
morning. Then she awoke to find that George was already 
up and dressed. That did not alarm her much at first. 
Bat she discovered that his night things were still lying in 



3i6 THE DEMONIAC 

their place, neatly folded up, and that his pillow showed no 
marks of pressure. She hurried downstairs. George was 
not there. He had not gone to bed at all, then. He was 
gone out. 

Strange! Perhaps he had had a hard night — but he 
promised faithfully to wake her up — perhaps he had only 
gone out for a walk. He would come home to breakfast. 
But he did not. Then her mind began to be filled with 
vague misgivings — and then with anxieties — and then with 
terrors. 

About twelve o'clock a carriage drew up before the door, 
and Nettie saw John Carew and a lady get out of it, and 
observed that John's face was grave and that the lady was 
weeping. Then her face became white and her heart stood 
still. 

'John Carew !' she cried, springing to meet him, ' where 
is George ? Where is George ?' 

John Carew took her by both hands. 

' Nettie,' he said, ' Nettie, my dear old friend ' but 

here he broke down. His voice turned into a sob, his eyes 
overflowed. * Tell her, Elinor,' he said : ' I cannot.' 

He left the room and shut the door. 

In the evening the Patager family were gathered together, 
solemn, awed, and yet important. 

' There will be an inquest,' said the Head of it. ' No one 
knows how he fell in the water. He will be buried — John 
Carew tells me — in his own church near the family mansion 
— in his own church — the family mansion ' — he repeated. 
' It will be in all the papers, of course. They will talk 
about us in the City.' 

' Miss Thanet has carried off Nettie and the children,' said 
Victoria. ' Poor Nettie ! She doesn't even seem to know 
what is said to her. But,' she sighed, ' seven thousand 
pounds a year, it is. Oh ! seven thousand pounds a year ! 
At such a time one cannot think of money — all our thoughts 
must be of mourning : we must have it becoming. Mother, 
you shall have a black velveteen and I'll have silk — Nettie 
will pay— Charlie shall have a new suit of black. Poor 
Nettie ! But, oh ! seven thousand — oh ! — seven thousand 
pounds a year !' 



THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 

Said Norah Helmer, in that last scene which moved and 
surprised us all so much, ' We have been married eight 
years, and we are strangers. I have borne three children — 
to a stranger. I cannot remain any longer under the roof 
of a strange man. I will not see these children any more. 
I give you, Torvald, what I take for myself — perfect free- 
dom. Live as you please — I shall live as I please. We 
are free. Stranger, keep your children !' 

It was twenty years ago when these words were uttered, 
though we seem to have heard them only yesterday. 



I. 

It was an upper chamber of a house in one of the poorest 
parts of the town ; a room poorly and scantily furnished. 
Before the open window stood a table which had certainly 
once kept richer, if not better, company ; there was a cup- 
board, the half-open door of which showed cups and saucers, 
and certain household stores ; there was no carpet on the 
floor, the window had no curtain, only a blind ; there were 
no hpok-shelves, books, pictures, ornaments, or anything 
pretty at all — nothing but chairs and a table and a stove. 
One of the chairs was an arm-chair. There was no fire in 
the stove, because the season was summer. At the table 
sat a girl at work ; and it was the evening, but at nine 
o'clock ; and for that matter at midnight, in Norway, there 
is still plenty of daylight. From the hot street below came 
up cries of children at play ; puifs and waftings of smells, 
such varied smells as belong to a poor street where work 



3i8 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

of all kinds is carried on in the houses as well as cookery of 
the kind which appeals as strongly to the nose as to the 
palate. Overhead, a pure and brilliant sky ; an evening 
when one might long for the pleasant noise of streams 
leaping over cascades and might dream of the placid waters 
of the fiord. But the girl went on working. 

It was quite fine work that she was doing ; work that is 
generally done in the rooms belonging to the shop where it 
is sold ; but Emmy Helmer liked best to work alone in her 
own room, and not with other girls ; and she was so good 
a hand that she was allowed to do so. She sat in a chair 
beside the open window, her skilful needle flying in and out 
while she made the beautiful embroidered work which the 
foreign ladies came to buy ; so good a hand she was, that 
the ladies always chose her work and took it home with 
them and exhibited it as proudly as if they themselves had 
made it ; and so contented a maiden was she that she 
never asked or cared to know what her employer charged 
for the work which he got so cheaply. She was a pretty 
girl — not tall, and yet shapely ; the curve of her head and 
neck, as she sat over the work — nay, every curve in her 
figure — was lovely to look upon. Her blue eyes, if she 
lifted them, were soft and limpid ; her fair hair was 
abundant ; her hands were small and white ; her features 
were delicate ; her cheek soft, though too pale, for the 
Norwegian winter is long and the Norwegian stove is hot ; 
besides which, a more generous diet and a life of more open 
air and less hard work might have brought more fulness 
and a deeper colour to the cheek as well as more roundness 
to the arm ; but in every other respect she was a pretty 
girl. 

On the table there lay an open letter, placed as the 
London clerk likes to place his newspaper while he takes 
his dinner, convenient for reading. It was a letter of two 
pages only, and those not quite filled. It began, ' My 
dearest, and sweetest and best,' and it ended with, ' Your 
faithful and constant lover ; ' and there was hardly anything 
in it but ' I love you — oh, my love, I love you !' Some girls 
would have found a letter monotonous with but one idea 
in it, and that repeated so many times. Not so Emmy 
Helmer ; she thought it beautiful. She knew it by heart, 
but she read it over and over again ; nay, while she sat and 



THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 319 

worked, turning her eyes fondly to this letter, looking at 
each word as if she loved its shape and admired its curves, 
her cheek began to glow and her eyes grew brigliter, and 
her lips trembled with a dream that came to her — a dream 
of love and happiness ineffable, far from the place where she 
was living, far from all the troubles which surrounded her, 
with this young man who loved her so — who loved her so. 
^Yhy did he love her so ? What was she that such a brave 
and gallant lover should stoop to love her. Only a work- 
girl, with a terrible trouble in her family history. But 

And he minded nothing — nothing. No, though his father 
was now a great gentleman in the town, and the mayor, 
and she was only a work-girl ! He minded nothing, not 

even She turned pale, and shuddered, and then red, 

and trembled. He minded nothing, not even — she 
looked at a door which opened, not to the staircase, but 
to another room — not even what was behind that door. 
Behind that door ! Her lover knew everything. The poor 
girl could not conceal anything if she tried : he knew even 
worse things than any hidden behind that door. 

Alas, the most miserable thing that can happen to any 
one in the world had befallen this poor girl ! She was 
shamed and disgraced ; by no misconduct of her own, but 
by that of other people. She was one of those by whom 
the fifth commandment, which by some is held to include 
brothers and sisters, nay, cousins and nephews, nieces, 
uncles and aunts, cannot possibly be observed — not by the 
most straight-walking Puritan that ever lived. It cannot : 
in no way can it be observed. This kind of shame is so 
horrible because it is, for the most part, self-inflicted. 
People say behind a girl's back, ' She is the daughter of 
this, that, or the other shameful person.' They do not say 
it to her face. If she is a girl of ill-conditions, they say it 
is the bad blood breaking out. If she is a good girl, they 
pity her out of the goodness of their hearts. In neither 
case do they taunt her with her misfortune ; she takes the 
shame herself; with her own hand she dies her cheek a 
perpetual red ; she need not, but yet she cannot choose. 
This, as you will understand, was Emmy Helmer's sad 
case. Then, since in every kind of misery there are some 
forms more wretched than others, this poor girl had 
endured the worst kind of all, which comes with the gradual 



320 THE DOLUS HOUSE -AND AFTER 

degradation of those whom she ought to have respected, 
and the gradual loss of everything vphich makes this life 
tolerable. Now, there was nothing left to lose, except 
those who had wrought the ruin ; nay, though this must 
not be said in extremis, when things are at their most 
shameful point, the extinction of these shameful persons 
would have been her gain. At least they would no longer 
be in evidence ; they would speedily be forgotten — she 
would be left alone, a wreck perhaps, but no longer encum- 
bered by the cordage and floating spars, and the crazy 
hulk of foundering ships around her. But this, again, must 
not be said even when things are at their worst. 

A church-clock struck nine. Emmy threw down her 
work and sprang to her feet. Then she remembered that 
she had eaten nothing since mid-day. She searched in the 
cupboard and found the loaf and some jam. Five minutes' 
struggle of youth with bread-and-jam may represent a light 
and wholesome supper. Then she put her work together, 
and carried it into her own room, and shut the door. When 
she came out, ten minutes later — not more, fair reader — 
she had on her other frock — ^a greatly superior article to 
that in which she worked. She wore a pretty hat, with 
pink ribbons tied in a lovely bow at her throat ; and with a 
smile on her lips and a light in her eyes, she ran out of the 
door which opened on the landing, and so downstairs. 



II. 

Behind the door — that other door — if Emmy had stayed 
any longer she would have heard steps as of one staggering 
about the floor. Then she would have jumped from her 
chair and run into her own room, there to remain until she 
was called. It was in this way that she did her best to 
honour her parent. 

The door was opened roughly, as by one who uses violence, 
and Torvald Helmer, her father, stood in the doorway, look- 
ing about him stupidly, as one not yet more than half awake. 
He had changed a little, certainly, since that day when 
Norah, his wife, amazed him by telling him he was a 
stranger just before she left him. Then he was three-and- 



THE DOLL'S IIOUSE-AND AFTER 321 

thirty years of age, well set up, stiff in iiis carriage, precise 
in his dress, clean-sliaven, of personal dignity beyond his 
years, and careful of his words. Everybody renienibcrs 
how Torvald Hehner looked twenty years ago, before — well, 
twenty years bring a man of thirty-three to the age of fifty- 
three. Tliis seems incredible to those still at the former 
desirable age, but it is really quite true. Now, at fifty-three 
most men show signs of advancing years, as in growing gray 
or bald, and, perhaps, in being not quite so ready to stoop 
as in the old days. And at fifty-three men who have lived 
a certain kind of life are rewarded by possessing a historical 
face. Their eyes, for instance, swell out for fatness ; their 
throats are swollen and their cheeks are puffed ; their lips 
tremble, as well as their hands ; round the mouth the years 
(and that habit of life) have carved a circular moat or ditch. 
There are faces truly historical : all the world can read 
them. There are many other faces which at fifty-three pro- 
claim the habit of life, though not so plainly. This one will 
do for our purpose, because it was the face which Torvald 
Helmer showed when he awoke that evening from a sleep, 
untimely, unwholesome, and, in any other man, disgraceful. 
In his it was too common to bring disgrace. And at the 
sight of him, so shabby, so shaky, his gray hairs so dis- 
reputable, you would have asked where was the Torvald 
you remembered twenty years ago. No greater misery for 
such a man than, in some sober moment, to remember 
what he once was. How — oh ! how — shall such a man 
climb back again? Plow, at fifty-three, shall he regain 
the old look of dignity and self - reliance ? He never 
tries ; he groans and curses ; and he still wallows in his 
habit. 

Torvald came out blearing and bhnking; he looked all 
round the room ; it was empty ; he drew the armchair to 
the window, and sat, leaning his head upon his hands, 
waiting for the moment of full recovery. To such as drink 
continuously this moment soon comes ; it is part of the 
habit of their life to wait and expect this moment ; they 
know when it is coming ; then they begin to straighten 
themselves ; the immediate effect of the strong drink has 
gone away, and they become thirsty again. This man had 
slept for four hours ; he was awake now and growing sober 
rapidly ; he sat at the window and suffered the air to play 



322 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

on his bare head, while his eyes bhnked and his shoulders 
rolled as a ship in waters troubled by a recent storm. 

Presently he lifted his head, completely steadied — he was 
as sober as he ever was ; in this kind of life there is reached 
a certain level on which the pilgrim is never sober. Every 
day he is drunk, but he is never quite sober. Torvald 
Helmer was on this level. It is pretty low down among 
levels, but there is one below it, and then — the final 
plunge. 

He got up and looked round the room, conscious that it 
was growing late in the evening, and that he was alone. 
He knocked at his daughter's door, calling her, but there 
was no reply. Then he sat down again at the open window ; 
the night was warm ; but the children's voices had ceased — 
they were in bed ; and there were no longer smells of work 
and cookery. He sat a while thinking in the disconnected, 
jumbled way which was left to him — to him, who had once 
governed and trained his thoughts to obedience and orderly 
sequence. 

Then, as if stung by some noisome creature, he sprang 
from the chair and began to walk about the room. 

' Curse her !' he murmured, ' curse her ! She is back 
again. I saw her this afternoon, and she saw me. I was 
coming out of the Black Eagle, and she was in her carriage 
— in her carriage — looking sleek and wealthy. And she 
laughed — oh. Devil ! — she laughed !' 

He opened the cupboard ; there was a bottle in it, but he 
knew it was empty. He felt in his pockets, but he knew 
there was no money in them ; and he was fain to sit down 
again and groan while his unruly thoughts went their own 
way and took him back again for a space of twenty years. 

' I have borne three children — to a strange man ; I can 
no longer remain under the roof — of a strange man. Take 
your freedom, Torvald, as I take mine.' 

These words came back clear and strong across the gulf 
of twenty years. Then he saw how the household, which 
had been his joy and pride, so full of comfort, order and 
sweetness, fell to pieces ; how there ceased to be any order ; 
how his servants robbed him ; how his children were neg- 
lected ; and how he himself came home at night to gloom 
and discomfort. He remembered how the people talked, 
and many looked askance at him, saying that no woman 



THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 323 

would loavo husband and children who was treated \vith 
kindness and love — the thing was impossible on the face of 
it. How at the bank the customers who wore wont to 
consult him freely and with confidence now confined them- 
selves to their business and went away. How he fell out of 
society ; people recognise a bachelor and a widower, but one 
who is neither, what can they do for him? All the misery 
of this early time came back to him. He remembered what 
he suffered in his loneliness, he who had been accustomed 
for eight years to the company of a sweet and loving wife — 
sweet and loving until the very moment before she left him. 
And at this point he cursed the woman again. 

Then he remembered how he would sit alone in his study 
all the evening, caring no more for work, though still from 
habit he brought home his papers. And now, beside him, 
close at his elbow, a bottle. 

He remembered, next, how one day the chairman of the 
bank called with a very serious face, and communicated to 
him the resolution of the directors to dismiss him from the 
post of manager in consequence of work neglected and 
business falling off. Well, he was still a lawyer ; he would 
practise. He had continued to practise, to such as would 
come, but who were they ? And what was he now ? And 
again he cursed the woman. 

He was so sober now that he was beginning to recover an 
unwonted command of his brain. He was beginning to 
understand how low he had fallen ; a man can fall no lower 
than from honour to contempt, from self-respect and self- 
rule to slavery and loss of will. Happily for such as Torvald 
they seldom quite understand what they have been and 
what they are. He shed tears ; he wept ; he groaned 
aloud ; the tears rolled down his cheeks. Such as Torvald 
weep easily, yet they continue in the bonds of habit. We 
all weep when the man brings along the whip. Those, how- 
ever, who resemble the unfortunate Torvald Helmer are 
more than commonly open to the soft emotions of sorrows. 
Therefore this poor man shed abundant tears. 

He was still weeping over the past and growing thirstier 
every moment, when he heard steps upon the stairs. He 
knew those steps ; he lifted his head, he opened his mouth, 
and gasped as one who in the desert sees the palm-trees 
that grow beside the spring. They were the steps of his 



324 THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 

son Einar, if he guessed aright. Then the door was opened 
and Einar came in. 

Twenty years ago, when you saw Einar last, he was a 
lovely boy of seven, the image of his mother, with all her 
winning ways and sweet confidences. He was now a man 
of seven-and-twenty, past the first spring of manhood, at an 
age when the face and manner of the man begin to show 
something of his past. He was handsome, but there was a 
look of recklessness in his face, and just now his cheek was 
flushed and his eyes ghstened. He was dressed like a clerk, 
but he lacked the air of sobriety which should adorn that 
calUng. A clerk who looks as if the costume of a cavalry 
officer would become him better than his black coat and 
gray trousers does not inspire confidence. In fact, Einar 
had already gone through several situations, and was now 
employed in keeping the books — without access to the cash 
— of a beer garden, 

• All alone, dad?' he said, drawing a large flat bottle out 
of the paper in which it was wrapped. ' Here is something 
to cheer you up ' — it was not the first time he had found his 
parent in tears. ' Have a glass, and look cheerful.' 

He filled and lit his pipe, put glasses on the table, and sat 
down opposite his father, who drank glass after glass of raw 
spirit with the greediness of the toper who has let himself 
run down. 

' Dad,' said the son presently, ' she's back in town again.' 

' I know ; I saw her this afternoon.' 

' I saw her too, driving through the streets. She's 
dressed in silks and satins. The people looked at me. If 
anyone had dared to speak to me I'd have killed him.' 

His father said nothing. 

' I'd have killed him,' the young man repeated. 

Torvald swallowed another glass. Einar puffed at his 
pipe. They exchanged no more words. 



III. 

Outside the town, where a swift stream ran babbling over 
the stones, two lovers walked hand-in-hand. The young 
man was Nils Krogsrad — Nils the younger. 

' Oh, my dear,' he said, ' I am torn to pieces thinking of 



THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 325 

you. But patience — patience — we will go away, far away, 
where you shall see and hear no more.' 

' If I could do anything for them. Nils — but I cannot. 
Einar loses every place through his tempers and his drink- 
ing, and Eobert terrifies me with his extravagance. Where 
does he get his money ? Is it by gambling ? I cannot bear 
to think of him — and — there is — my poor father !' 

' Yes,' said Nils decidedly. 

' He who stood so high, and was respected so much. 
Why, Nils, all the world knows what Torvald Helmer was 
—and all know what he is,' she added bitterly. 

' My dear, there is no help for us but to fly. We must go 
away — I have thought of everything. We will go to America 
— not to the place where the Norwegians congregate — there 
we should find nothing but this town over again, with all 
the old stories — no, no — we must go to some place by our- 
selves, and quickly learn to talk English, and bring up our 
children — our children, dear ' — he repeated the words, so 
strange to lovers young — ' as if their parents were of the 
English race — not Norwegians.' 

' Oh, Nils ! will your father let you go ?' 

' He must, if I refuse to stay,' replied the young man firmly. 
' I shall speak to him to-morrow. ' 

' But if he should not '?' 

' My dear, I shall ask him for nothing more than his con- 
sent, and the money for our passage and our start. That 
done, we shall find between us all the rest.' 

' Yes, dear Nils — I am not afraid of work. And if only 
I have you, I care not how hardly we live.' 

He took her in his arms and kissed her again and again. 

It was eleven o'clock when they walked home together. 
There were still many people in the streets, for why should 
one want to go to bed when the air is warm and sweet, and 
the night is like the day? They looked after the lovers, 
and one said to the other that it would be a good thing for 
the girl to be taken from her father and her brothers ; and 
tlie other (who was a moralist) remarked to the one. That 
from brambles one does not gather grapes, and that the 
daughter of such a father, and such a mother, is not likely 
to advance the coming of the kingdom of Heaven. 

At the door they kissed again and parted. 

The girl ran upstairs. She found her father sitting in the 



326 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

armchair, his head against the wall, breathing heavily. 
Alas ! How often had she seen him so ! Her brother, not 
so far gone, turned his head and tried to speak, but only 
grunted. 

Emmy went quickly into her own room. 

There she fell upon her knees and burst into tears of 
gratitude because God would permit her to be taken away 
from this house of shame — far away from the town of shame- 
ful memories. 

There was still another member of the family. This was 
the youngest — Eobert. He came home at midnight. He, 
too, was a clerk, and he had not yet lost his situation, 
which was in the bank of which his father had once been 
manager. He was dressed as one who desires to be thought 
a young gentleman of fashion and means ; he wore the latest 
cut of collar and necktie, carried a gold chain, and had a 
ring on his finger. His face, however, was anxious. He 
glanced at his father and his brother and hurried through, 
like Emmy, to his own room. Here he did not, like her, 
fall on his knees in prayer, and then lie down to sleep. On 
the contrary, he was full of restlessness. He half undressed, 
and then started, gasped, and dressed himself again. Then 
he wrote something on a paper and looked at it. Then he 
tore it up, undressed for the second time and lay down. 
But he could not sleep. And so the household of Torvald 
Helmer passed the night. Two of them in the dreamless 
sleep of drunkenness, one tossing on his bed in terror of 
something, the last sleeping in happy hope of being taken 
speedily away. Alas ! Torvald Helmer — how hast thou 
fallen ! 

IV. 

NoEAH sat alone in her salon. Twenty years had changed 
the young wife of twenty-seven to the woman of forty-seven. 
At that age few women preserve their attractions. Norah 
was one of the few. She was now a handsome woman, who 
had been in her youth only pretty. Her form had filled out, 
her face was still pleasing, her eyes, once so vivacious and 
sparkling, though a little dulled by the years, were still full 
of light. She was dressed in black silk, with plenty of lace ; 
she lay back in her easy-chair ; in her lap was a book which 



THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 327 

she was not reading. As she sat tliere alone — thinking — 
her face grew hard, and even defiant. 

Well, she had had her way. She gave up her husband 
and home ; she abandoned her children ; she went forth 
to find — Herself. She found something, and she called it 
Herself. This something, which she readily believed, told 
her that religion was sheer imposture and pretence ; that 
the ordinary laws of life were designed for no other purpose 
than to keep women in slavery ; that the first duty of every 
woman was owed to that something — Herself ; that she 
must make the most of her life for the sake of that some- 
thing, before whom every other consideration must give 
place. She threw aside, therefore, all the conventions, and 
openly, not secretly, in the sight of all, she began to live the 
life of perfect freedom. She wrote novels also, which the 
old-fashioned regarded with horror. In them she advocated 
the great principle of abolishing the family, and making love 
the sole rule of conduct. She even related in these works 
her own adventures, insomuch that the worthy Norwegians 
thought the curse of Paris was about to fall also upon fair 
Norway. 

It is rumoured that this advanced thinker has found many 
disciples, most of whom, for the sake of their business con- 
nections, worship in secret. It is certain that a few ladies 
— English or German — have been found in her salon on her 
evenings, as well as the men who, partly out of curiosity, 
and partly from the freedom and the piquancy of the con- 
versation, frequented her receptions. Indeed, Norah Helmer 
commanded the hand of respect which belongs to one who 
has the courage to act upon her convictions. Perhaps it 
would have been kinder to her own children — but what had 
children to do with the discovery and the development of 
Herself ?^ — had she practised her convictions in some other 
place, say in St. Petersburg, where everything is permitted ; 
or in Paris, where everything is done ; or in London, where 
everything may be done and nothing need be known. Women, 
however, who are brilliant in the society of men, who permit 
themselves to say things which would be risky in a club 
smoking-room, and who hold views which prevent the poor 
conventional lady from calling upon them, are apt to run 
down and feel low when they have the whole evening in 
solitude. Norah was feeling low : she was alone ; her book 



328 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

was stupid ; she wanted excitement ; she was sorry now 
that she had refused a box at the theatre. 

' A lady, madame.' 

' A lady ! What lady ?— What name ?' 

' Only a lady, madame. The lady wishes to give you her 
name herself.' 

Norah hesitated. ' I am at home,' she said. 

The lady who came in was dressed in a long cloak with a 
thick veil. She put up the veil and threw off her cloak. 

' You do not remember me,' she said. 

Norah looked at her curiously. ' You are Christine,' she 
said. ' I remember you now. Why do you come here,' she 
asked coldly, ' after twenty years' absence ?' 

' I come to see you, Norah. It is your own fault that 
now I only dare to come secretly.' 

' I am a leper, I suppose.' 

' You know what people say and think of you. You know 
what things you have written and published.' 

' Well, in the world's own way of thinking — if I am what 
I am, you are the wife of Nils Krogsrad.' 

' My husband is long since a most respectable man. It is 
known that for a short period he was slandered and mis- 
understood. When I married him it was my intention to 
restore him to society — nay, to place society at his feet. 
He is now honoured : the mayor of the town, the manager 
of the bank, the leader in every religious and philanthropic 
effort.' 

Norah laughed derisively. ' Yes, indeed ; but why do 
you come here ?' 

' I come, I say, to see you. I heard that you had 
returned, after five years' absence. We are growing old, 
Norah. I have followed the course common to the world 
we live in; you have chosen another path. Which is now 
the happier?' 

* Certainly, I am the happier, because I am not a slave. 
I am not concerned to defend my life, Christine. It is 
enough for me to have found myself, and to have followe*d 
logically and fearlessly the full development of my nature.' 

' Do you never regret the past ?' 

' Do you mean that chapter which I closed twenty years 
ago ? — Never.' 

' Do you never think of your husband ?' 



THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 3^9 

' The owner of the Doll's House ? — Never !' 

' Nor of your children ?' 

* I never so much as inquire if they are living or dead.' 

' They are living. Your husband, Torvald Helmer, has 
sunk very low.' 

' So much I have heard. But, indeed, I care not.' 

' That is not well said, Norah, that you care not. For it 
is your doing— all your doing. When you left him suddenly 
with the helpless children you destroyed his life. Did you 
never ask yourself what it meant for such a man to be 
deserted by his wife, and without a cause?' 

' Cause there was— and enough.' 

' ^Yithout a cause,' Christine repeated. ' You told me 
why you left him. There was no cause. Did you never 
think what construction would be put upon your act? 
People look coldly on a man whose wife suddenly leaves 
him and returns to him no more.' 

' I cannot help that.' 

' You have not only destroyed his life, Norah, but you 
have destroyed the lives of your own children. You re- 
member their names, at least. There was Einar, the 
eldest. You must remember that lovely boy. He is now 
a drunken profligate. He has been made reckless by the 
example of his father and the things said of his mother. 
There was little Emmy — you must remember her. She is 
a good girl, I am told, who lives apart and alone, con- 
demned to loneliness, because a girl with such sad parents 
can have no friends. There is the youngest, Robert, whose 
way of life is well known, and whose end is certain. It 
will be— the prison. Does this move you?' 

' Not in the least,' she rephed coldly. ' You speak of 
unknown people— strangers. The sins of strange people 
are only interesting as forming data in the general problems 
of hunianity. I have- told you that a certain chapter of 
my life is closed for ever.' 

Madame Krogsrad put on her cloak and lowered her 
veil. 

' I leave you,' she said. ' You say in your books that 
you have found perfect happiness in the development of 
yourself in your own way. Sometimes in your happiness 
and your pleasures, think of the ruined home and the lost 
children. Norah, no woman ever did a more cruel, a more 



330 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

wicked, or a more selfish thing than you, when you deserted 
your husband and your children.' 

Norah laughed scornfully. 

When the door closed upon her visitor her laughter 
ceased, her face changed, she sank upon a chair — a long- 
forgotten yearning seized her and held her. She had been 
reminded of her children. For twenty years she had for- 
gotten them ; now she remembered them all again — the 
sturdy Einar, the laughing Emmy, the Httle year-old boy. 
Her heart went out to them. What was it that woman 
said ? They were grown up ; and one was a drunken pro- 
fligate, and one was friendless for no sins of her own, and 
one was fast nearing the gates of the gaol. 

'I am sorry,' she said, ' that I came back to the place. 
Five years ago I said I would never come back. I will go 
away to-morrow, out of their way. They are no children 
of mine ; they are the children of the man, the man — the 
strange man !' 



V. 

Emmy Helmer sat at her work next day. She was sing- 
ing as she worked ; not a song, but a piece of this song and 
of that, without thinking what she sang ; singing out of the 
happiness of her heart, because her lover was going to take 
her away, far away, where the shamefulness that now 
wrapped her, as with a garment, would drop from her and 
be no more seen. A girl situated like Emmy Helmer may 
be allowed, I suppose, to think that the best thing possible 
for her would be to go right away from home and never to 
see again her father or her brothers, and never again to 
hear of her mother. As for her father, he had gone as 
usual to the office, where he sometimes received the few 
who still came to him ; simple folk who had known hiin 
and consulted him so long, and could not understand that 
his brain was muddled with strong drink. Her elder 
brother was also gone — in search of a new place, I dare say ; 
and the younger brother was at his desk in the bank. She 
knew not how soon it would be before Nils, her lover, 
would take her away, but very soon now — oh, very soon ! 
Therefore" she sang at her work. In the hot forenoon the 



THE DOLL\S HOUSE— AND AFTER 331 

house was quiet : nobody ever disturbed her — nobody ever 
visited her ; and she worked on, singing as she worked in a 
low sweet voice, thinking nothing of her words, but dream- 
ing of her handsome lover, Nils Krogsrad's youngest son. 
Oh, it was too great fortune — and so grand a family ! One 
of the sons was a professor in the university, another was a 
lawyer, a third was an officer of engineers ; but Nils, the 
voungest, her lover, would not stay at home ; he would go 
to America and become a farmer, and she would go with 
him and become a farmer's wife ; and, what was it ho said? 
—their children, oh, their children ! would be brought up 
to talk English, and so never learn the truth about their 
mother's family. 

Suddenly— she never noticed steps going up and down 
stairs ; people in flats regard them no more than steps in 
the street— her door-bell rang. She rose, astonished. At 
the door stood a lady whom she knew not — a lady beauti- 
fully dressed in silk, with a thick veil. 

' Are you Emmy Helmer ?' asked her visitor. ' Yes ? 
You are alone ? Then I will come in.' She stepped inside, 
and looked around curiously. Then she looked at the girl. 
' You are Emmy Helmer,' she said again, with a strange 
constraint in her voice. ' You are a work-girl. Your father, 
where is he? And your brothers?' She lifted her veil. 
' Do you know who I am ?' 

' My father is at his office.' Emmy answered all the 
questions. ' My brothers are at their work. I do not know 
you, madame. Have you business with me ?' 

' Your father drinks, I believe ; and your elder brother, 
Einar, follows his example.' 

The girl hung her head. 

' Alas, madame !' she said, ' these things are too well 
known ; I cannot deny them. Are you come only to tell 
me this?' 

' No — no — you — Emmy Helmer — tell me — are you 
happy ? Do you want anything ?' 

' Not now. At last I have all that I want.' 

' Here ? In this poor place ? With your father and your 
brothers always in your sight ?' 

' I have all that I want, madame.' 

' In Heaven's name what do you want?' 

The girl looked round, and made answer slowly : 



332 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

' I want to be taken away from a town where I am 
shamed by my mother, and pitied for my father. That is 
all I want. But God has given me more.' 

' Your mother — shamed by your mother ! Do you re- 
member her ? Have you seen her ?' 

' No, madame ; I pray that I may never know her. She 
is the cause of all our troubles. It is a shameful thing to 
be ashamed of your own mother. It is a most miserable 
thing not to be able even to think of her for fear of bad and 
revengeful thoughts.' 

' If your mother were to seek you out, child, what would 
you say to her ?' 

' I should run away lest I should say something wicked. 
But who are you, madame, and why do you come here?' 

' I was sent, child — sent by your mother — none other — 
to see you. Since you have all that you want, and since 
you — think about her — in this way — I will not stay — I will 
go away— I will go away.' She turned and seemed as if 
she were going — yet she lingered. ' Nay,' she said, with a 
strange look in her eyes ; ' of course you speak as you are 
told to speak. You do not know the truth. Your mother 
is a great leader. Future ages will speak of her as among 
the first of those who liberated woman from the yoke laid 
upon her by all the ages. You cannot know. Child, your 
mother makes you an offer. Come to her. I will take you. 
Live with her ; be her daughter and her pupil. She will 
teach you to become even as she is herself — free in thought 
and free in life.' 

' Oh !' The girl shuddered and trembled. ' If Nils 
should hear ! Live with her ? Give up my lover and my 
hopes ? Oh ! you are a vile and wicked woman ! You are 
as vile and wicked as my unhappy mother herself ! Go- 
quickly. Leave me— lest I say something worse.' 

Her mysterious visitor obeyed. She turned and walked 
away. 

VI. 

The girl sat down to her work again. But her hands 
trembled, the work went slowly, and she sang no more. 
The joy had gone out of her heart. Her mother ! Her 
mother who had shamed her ! Oh ! unto the third and 



THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 333 

fourth generation ! Never, since she began to understand 
at all, had she ceased to feel those dreadful words—' unto 
the third and fourth generation.' She tried to think of her 
lover — brave, and strong, and true. But she could not. 
She was in the ruined homo cursed by the sins of her parents ! 
The work went more slowly ; the tears gathered in her eyes 
and rolled down her cheeks— ' unto the third and fourth 
generation.' Alas! As yet she knew not the trouble that 
was to fall upon her. 

Presently she recovered a little, and went on more steadily 
with her work. But another step came up the stairs — a 
step that she knew — and stopped before the door. 

It was her younger brother. He was perfectly white ; he 
trembled and shook ; he looked about the room. ' Emmy,' 
he cried, ' help me— I must run away. Give me all the 
money you have. Oh ! they may be after me now.' 
' Kobert ! what have you done ? What is the matter _?' 
He went into his own room and began putting his things 
together as fast as he could. 

' There's a row at the bank,' he said. ' I knew it would 

be found out. Oh, I was a fool not to run away yesterday 

— the day before ! Emmy, how much money have you got?' 

She gave him her purse. It was light, but it held all she 

had. 

'Where will you go? Oh, Eobert, what have you 
done ?' 

' I will get across to Copenhagen ; I will go on to Bremen 
and so to New York.' 

' What have you done ?' she asked again. 
' You'll find out quick enough. Give me those boots, and 
my great-coat. Hush ! There's someone at the door. Don't 
let him in ! No— no — that would make him suspect. Let 
him in.' There was a ring at the bell. ' Let him in. I 
will lock my door ; if he tries to get in I will escape by the 
roof.' 

He pushed his sister out of his room and locked the door. 
Emmy opened the door trembling. It was not, however, 
a pohceman who stood there, but Mr. Nils Krogsrad, the 
great banker, the mayor of the town, the father of her lover. 
'You are Emmy Helmer ?' he said. 'I thought so. I 
have something to say; something important— deeply im- 
portant.' 



334 ^J^HE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 

He came in and sat down. He was a tall man, of grave 
and dignified bearing. The period during which he suffered 
under the misunderstanding of the town had, perhaps, 
saddened him. 

' My child,' he said, ' I desire you to understand, first of 
all, that in what I have to say I mean no blame against 
yourself. I am happy to learn that you bear a character 
irreproachable. I am, therefore, assured that you will re- 
ceive my — my communication in a proper spirit.' He 
paused. The girl said nothing. 'It is,' he continued, ' a 
law of humanity that we suffer together. In every family 
the deeds of the parents act upon the lives and fortunes of 
the children. We who are virtuous bequeath an inheritance 
of honour to our children. Those who are — the opposite — 
bequeath an inheritance of shame. Is this true ?' 

Emmy Helmer bowed her head. She could not speak ; 
and her brother was in the next room, hiding from the pur- 
suit of the law : an inheritance of shame, truly. 

' I have four sons, Emmy Helmer. The eldest is a pro- 
fessor at the university, in great esteem ; the second is a 
lawyer, in good practice ; the third is an officer of engineers, 
honourably considered ; the fourth. Nils, it is my intention 
to keep in the bank, in order to follow my footsteps. I am 
aware that he has wild ideas about America, but they are 
not my ideas. I am also aware that he has permitted him- 
self to fall in love with a girl. She is virtuous and respect- 
able, it is true ; but for family reasons — for family reasons, 

I say ' Again he paused, but the girl remained silent. 

' Emmy Helmer, I ask you, could I permit my son to marry 
that girl ? Think of it. Must I remind you of her family ? 
You are a good and sensible girl — think of it. Is it possible 
that I could suffer my son to load his back with such a 
family ? — fatlier, mother, brothers — good heavens ! Is it 
possible ? You know my reputation in the town — my 
honourable position ; as magistrate I might have to con- 
demn ' He paused again. 

Emmy Helmer covered her face with her hands, sobbing. 

Nils Krogsrad rose : ' I have said enough for a sensible 
girl. I have sent my son away for a year or more to learn 
his business. Now, there is another thing. Your brother 
Robert, whom I took into the bank as a junior clerk — 
weakly, as knowing his father's character — has, I find, com- 



THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 335 

initted au act which brings him within the arm of the law. 
lie has forged my name. The amount is small, but the 
crime is groat. I would not willingly press the charge ; but, 
can my son marry the sister of a forger, the daughter of — 
nay, nay, let us spare the rest. Think of it, I'^mmy lielmer. 
You are greatly to be pitied, but this allliction is your in- 
heritance. Think, I say. Give me an assurance that this 
fooHsh engagement is broken, and, as a first mark of my 
gratitude, your brother shall be suffered to escape.' 

The girl rose, and brushed back her tears. ' You are 
right,' she said. ' Nils shall not marry me. Give him his 
ring.' She drew from her finger the ring her lover had given 
her. ' Are you satisfied, Mr. I\!rogsrad ?' 

' I am quite satisfied. You ai-e a good and brave 
girl. lu heaven, Emmy Helmer, you will have your 
reward.' 

He went away. The girl called her brother. 

' You can come out, Kobert,' she said calmly — ' you can 
come out wdthout fear. Mr. Krogsrad has been here. He 
has told me that you are a forger, but he will suffer you to 
escape. Go quickly. Oh, Kobert !' — she laid her hands 
upon his shoulders — ' go away to some foreign country, 
where no one knows you. And, Eobert, for fear it should 
be found out — never, never, never marry ! For GOD'S 
sake, never marry. Let your sins die with you. Spare the 
children— oh, my brother, spare the children !' 



VII. 

That evening, about eight o'clock, Norah drove to the rail- 
way station. She was leaving her native town for ever ; 
she would return to it no more. Of old, she had been 
pleased to come and go, scornful of the hostile looks of the 
women and the side-glances of the men. She delighted in 
her isolation ; it was that of one in advance of her genera- 
tion ; one who is wiser than the recognised leaders is natu- 
rally stoned. She showed an example of perfect freedom 
and fearless development, without any prejudice left at all. 
Now she was going away for the last time, she would never 
come back. Besides, she was humihated ; she thought her- 



336 THE DOLL'S HOUSE—AND AFTER 

self so strong that nothing connected with the closed chapter 
could touch her any more ; and she had seen her daughter ; 
the old, buried, long-forgotten yearnings seized her ; the old, 
long-forgotten prejudices made her as ashamed as Eve her- 
self ; and horrible doubts held her sleepless and wretched all 
the night. She would go away at once — she would go to 
Paris, to London — anywhere. 

On the way to the station, where the street leads up from 
the port, the driver stopped. Blocking her way there was 
passing slowly a little procession. 

' They are carrying something, madame,' said the driver. 
' We shall be able to go on directly.' 

Norah leaned forward with natural curiosity. Four men 
were carrying something. What ? They were surrounded 
by twenty or thirty people pressing in to see. All were 
talking eagerly. Then she heard the name of her hasband 
mentioned. 

' Torvald Helmer. Go and call Torvald Helmer. He 
must be told. Go, someone, and tell Torvald Helmer. He 
is drinking at the Black Eagle.' 

They put down their burden in front of the carriage, 
them ?' 

' Drive on,' said Norah. ' Cannot you get round 

' There is no hurry, madame,' said the driver. ' They 
will go on directly. I think it is someone who is 
drowned.' 

Norah lay back. A dreadful presentiment of evil seized 
her ; she was afraid. For twenty years she had not felt the 
least touch of repentance or fear ; now, she was afraid, and 
she knew not why. 

She heard them talking. ' Here comes Torvald Helmer. 
Here is Einar. Oh, shameful ! They are both drunk ! 
And at such a moment !' 

She sat up again and saw her husband, and he was 
staggering along — drunk. Behind him, also drunk, a young 
man, tall and handsome. Was this her eldest boy ? Was 
this Einar ? 

A lady in the crowd saw her and came out quickly to 
speak with her. It was Christine Krogsrad. 

' Norah,' she said, ' for God's sake, drive on quickly !' 

' What does it mean ?' she asked. ' Why are they calling 
Torvald Helmer ?' 



THE DOLL'S HOUSE— AND AFTER 337 

' Do not ask. Do not seek to know. Drive on quickly.' 
Christine was deeply moved. ' A dreadful thing has hap- 
pened.' 

' I shall not move until I learn what it is.' 

' Then — oh ! wretched woman — know that the ruin is 
complete.' 

' What ruin ?' 

' The ruin wrought by your own hand. They are bearing 
home the body of your daughter. She has drowned her- 
self. For her mother's sake— for her father's sake — she 
has been robbed of her lover. She is dead.' 

' Ah !' Norah sank back in her carriage ; but she re- 
covered herself with an effort. 

Just then her husband, who was stupidly gazing at his 
daughter's corpse, looked up, and, drunk as he was, recog- 
nised her. He bellowed an execration, and would have run 
at her, waving his arms, and cursing her, but the others 
held him back. They knew by this time who was in the 
carriage, and the crowd parted right and left, as if to suffer 
the woman who had deserted her children and her husband 
to gaze upon the dead face of her daughter. But no one 
reproached her, save with looks. Emmy lay upon a bier 
formed by the coats of the fishermen who had found her ; 
someone had arranged her long fair hair across her bosom ; 
her hands were joined as if in prayer ; her cheek was white 
and waxen, in no way injured by the water ; her eyes were 
closed, the long lashes lying on the cheek ; her face was at 
rest, and for ever. 

As the mother looked, her colour came and went ; the 
tears rose in her eyes, but she repressed them ; she reeled 
and trembled, but she steadied herself ; she parted her lips 
twice to speak, but twice she refrained. In a word, Norah 
Helmer, the apostle of the new and better creed, was 
threatened with some of the weakness of the ordinary 
woman ; for a moment she was almost capable of weeping 
over her daughter ; but she was mistress of herself ; she 
rose to the occasion ; she became perfectly cold and in- 
different. 

' What have I to do,' she asked, ' with a strange man and 
his dead child ?' 

' Norah,' said Christine, ' you will never — never — never — 

22 



338 THE DOLUS HOUSE— AND AFTER 

forget this scene. Go ! you will be haunted for ever with 
the destruction of your own children by your own hand.' 

' They are going on, madame,' said the driver, turning in 
his seat. ' It seems that it is a poor girl who has drowned 
herself for shame. She had a bad mother and a bad father. 
It is sad. Madame will be in time to catch her train.' 



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?6 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



LISTS OF BOO KS CLASSI FIED IN SERIES. 

*»* For fuller cataloguing, see alphabetical arrangement, pp. 1-25. 



THE MAYFAIR LIBRARY. 

A Journey Round My Boom. By Xavier 

DF. MaISTRE. 

Quips and Quiddities. By W. D. Adams. 
The Agony Column of "The Times." 
Melancholy Anatomised: Abridgment of 

" Burton's Anatomy o* Melancholy." 
The Speeches of Charles Dickens. 
Literary Frivolities, Fancies, Follies, 

and Frolics. By W. T. Dobson. 
Poetical Ingenuities. By W. T. Dobson. 
The Cupboard Papers. By Fin-Bec. 
W. S. Gilbert's Plays. First Series. 
W. S. Gilbert's Plays. Second Series. 
Songs of Irish Wit and Humour. 
Animals and Masters. By Sir A. Helps. 
Social Pressure. By Sir A. Helps. 
Curiosities of Criticism. H. J. Jennings. 
Holmes's Autocrat of Breakfast-Table. 
Pencil and Palette. By R. Kempt. 



Post 8vo, cloth limp, 2s. 6d. per Volume, 
Little Essays: trom Lamb's Letters. 
Forensic Anecdotes. By Jacob Larwood. 
Theatrical Anecdotes. Jacob Larwood. 
Jeux d'Esprit. Edited by Henry S. Leigh. 
Witch Stories. By E. Lynn Linton. 
Ourselves. By E. Lynn Linton. 
Pastimes & Players. By R. Macgregor. 
New Paul and Virginia. W.H.Mallock, 
New Republic. By W. H. Mallock. 
Puck on Pegasus. By H. C. Pennell. 
Pegasus Re-Saddled. By H. C. Pennell. 
Muses of Mayfalr. Ed. H. C. Pennell. 
Thoreau : His Life & Aims. By H. A. Page. 
Puniana. By Hon. Hugh Rowley. 
More Puniana. By Hon. Hugh Rowley. 
The Philosophy of Handwriting. 
By Stream and Sea. By Wm. Senior. 
Leaves from a Naturalist's Note-Book. 
By Dr. Andrew Wilson. 



THE GOLDEN LIBRARY. 
Bayard Taylor's Diversions of the Echo 

Club. 
Bennett's Ballad History of England. 
Bennett's Songs for Sailors. 
Godwin's Lives of the Necromancers. 
Pope's Poetical Works. 
Holmes's Autocrat of Breakfast Table. 



Post 8vo, cloth limp, 28. per Volume. 
Holmes's Professor at Breakfast Tablfli 
Jesse's Scenes of Country Life. 
Leigh Hunt's Tale for a Chimney 

Corner. 
Mallory's Mort d'Arthur: Selections. 
Pascal's Provincial Letters. 
Rochefoucauld's Maxims & Reflections. 



THE WANDERER'S LIBRARY. 

Wanderings in Patagonia. By Julius 

Bekrbohm. Illustrated. 
Camp Notes. By Frederick Boyle. 
Savage Life. By Frederick Boyle. 
Merrie England in the Olden Time. By 

G. Danikl. Illustrated by Cruikshank. 
Circus Life. By Thomas Frost. 
Lives of the Conjurers. Thomas Frost. 
The Old Showmen and the Old London 

Fairs. By Thomas Frost. 
Low-Life Deeps. By James Greenwood. 



Crown 8vo, cloth extra, Ss. 6rt. each. 
Wilds of London. James Greenwood. 
Tunis. Chev. Hesse- Wartegg. zzlllusts. 
Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack. 
World Behind the Scenes. P.Fitzgerald. 
Tavern Anecdotes and Sayings. 
The Genial Showman. By E.P. Hingston, 
Story of London Parks. Jacob Larwood, 
London Characters, iiy Henry Mayhew. 
Seven Generations of Executioners. 
Summer Cruising in the South Seas. 

By C. Warren Stoddard. Iiliistriiied. 



POPULAR SHILLING BOOKS. 



Harry Fludyer at CambridjSa. 
Jeff Eri^gs's Love Story. Bret Harte. 
Twins of Table Mountain. Bkkt Hakte. 
A Day's Tour, by PtKcv Fitzgerald. 
Esther's Glove. By R. E. Francillon. 
Sentenced! By Somerville Gibney. 
The Professor's Wife. By L.Graham. 
Mrs. Gainsborough's Diamonds. By 

luLiAN Hawthorne. 
Niagara Spray. By J. Hollingshead. 
A Romance of the Queen's Hounds. By 

Charles James. 
The Garden that Paid the Bent. By 

Tom Jkrrold 
Cut by the Mess. By Arthur Keyser. 
Our Sensation Novel. J. H. McCarthy, 
lloomi By JusiiN H. McCarthy, M.P. 
Dolly. By Justin H. McCarthy, M.P. 
Lily Lass. Justin H. McCarthy, M.P 



Was She Good or Bad? By W. Minto. 
Notes from the "News." By Jas. Hayh. 
Beyond the Gates. By E. S. Phelps. 
Old Maid's Paradise. By E. S. Phelps. 
Burglars in Paradise. By E. S. Phelps. 
Jack the Fisherman. By E. S. Phelps. 
Trooping with Crows. By C. L. Pirkis. 
Bible Characters. By Charles Reade. 
Rogues. By R. H. Sherard. 
The Dagonet Reciter. By G. R. Sims. 
How the Poor Live. By G. R. Sims. 
Case of George Candlemas. G. R. Sims. 
Sandycroft Mystery. T. W. Speight. 
Hoodwinked, By T. W. Spek.ht. 
Father Daniien. By R. L. Stevenson. 
A Double Bond. By Linda Villabi, 
My Life with Stanley's Rear Ouapd. By 
Hekbekt Ward, 



CHATTO 6c WiNDUg, 214, PICCADILL/. 



27 



MY LIBRARY. 

Choice Works, printed on laid paper, bound liilf-Roxburghe, 3«. <mI. each. 
Four Frenchwomen. BvAustin Doi-.son. I Christie Johnstone. Bv Charles Reade. 
Citation and Examination of William I Witli a Photo^iavure i'rontispiece 

Shakspeare. !;v VV. li. Lanhor. I Peg Wofflngton. By Chakles Reade. 

The Journal of Maurice de G uerln. | The DramattcJEssays of Charles Lamb. 

THE POCKET LIBRARY. Post 8vo, printed on laid paper and hf.-bd., i«. each. 



The Essays of Ella. By Charles Lamb. 
Robinson Crusoe. Edited by John Major. 

With 37llluStS. bvGEORGF. Cruikshank. 

Whims and Oddities. By Thomas Hood. 

Witli 8i Ilhistrstions. 
The Barber's Chair, and The Hedgehog 

Letters. By Douolas Jkrrold. 
Gastronomy as a Fine Art. By Brillat- 

Savarin. Trans. R. E. Anderson, M.A. 



The Epicurean, &c. By Thomas Moore. 
Leigh Hunt's Essays. Ed. E. Ollikr. 
White's Natural History of Selborne. 
Gulliver's Travels, and The Tale of a 

Tub. By Dean Suikt. 
The Rivals, School for Scandal, and other 

Plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 
Anecdotes of the Clergy. J. Larwood. 
Thomson's Seasons. Illustrated. 



THE PICCADILLY NOVELS. 



Library Editions of Novels ry 

crown 8vo, cloth 

ISy GRAIVT AIilii::V. 



Philistia. 
Babylon 
Strange Stories. 
Beckoning Hand. 
In all Shades. 



TheTentsof Shem. 
For Malmie's Sake. 
The Devil's Die. 
This Mortal Coll. 
The Great Taboo. 



the Best Authors, many Illustrated, 
e.^tra, ii<*. 6«l. each. 

Kv.^Ibm.II.I.OVETTCAITBEROIV. 

Juliet's Guardian. | Deceivers Ever. 
By ^VIIiKIE tOI>I.a.'V«. 



Dumaresq's Daughter. 
Or EDWI^i Iv. ARNOI.<D. 

Phra the Phoenician. 

By AL.AIV «T. AIJJBYIV. 

A Fellow of Trinity. 
By Rov. $4. BARIi>'0 OOULiB. 

Red Spider. I Eve. 

By W, BESANT & .1. RICE. 

My Little Girl. I By Cella's Arbour. 
Caseof Mr.Lucraft. Monks of Thelema, 
This Son of Vulcan, The Seamy Side. 
Golden Butterfly. I Ten Years' Tenant. 
Ready-Money Mortiboy. 
With Harp and Crown. 
'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Chaplain of the Fleet. 

By ■\VAL,'rB-;E£ BEJ^AIVT. 
All Sorts and Conditions of Men. 
The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair 
The World Went Yeny Well Then. 
For Faith and Freedom. 
Dorothy Forster. j The Holy Rose. 



Armorel of Lyon- 

esse. 
St. Katherine's by 

the Tower. 



Uncle Jack. 
Children of Gibeon. 
Herr Paulus. 
Bell of St. Paul's. 
To Call Her Mine. 

By ROBERT BIC'HANAIV. 
The Shadow of the Sword. 
A Child of Nature. 
The Martyrdom of Madeline. 
God and the Man. I The New Abelard. 
Love Me for Ever. Foxslove Manor. 
Annan Water. I Master of the Mine. 
Matt. 1 Heir of Llnne. 

By IIAI>I. < \1."VE. 
The Shadow of a Crime. 
A Son of Hagar. I The Deemster. 
nORT. 4.V ERATVt'ES COL.L.IIV8. 
Transmigration. 
From Midnight to Midnight. 
Blacksmith and Scholar. 
Village Comedy. | You Play Ue False. 



The Frozen Deep. 
The Two Destinies. 
Law and the Lady 
Haunted Hotel. 
The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel's Daughter. 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science. 
"I Say No." 
Little Navels. 
The Evil Genius. 
The Legacy of Cain 
A Rogue's Life. 
Blind Love. 



Armadale. 
After Dark. 
No Name. 
Antonina. | Basil. 
Hide and Seek. 
The Dead Secret. 
Queen of Hearts. 
My Miscellanies. 
Woman in White. 
The Moonstone. 
Man and Wife. 
Poor Miss Finch. 
Miss or Mrs? 
New Magdalen. 

By BUTTOIV COOK« 
Paul Foster's Daughter. 

By ITfATT «^Rr;VI. 
Adventures of a Fair Rebel. 

By Wlt.t.IAiTl ClPIiES. 
Hearts of Gold. 

By AI^PHOIVSE UAHJDET. 
The Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 

Bv ERASinrs DAH'SOIV. 
The Fountain of Youth. 

By JTAITJES DE iTIft,i:.E. 
A Castle in Spain. 

By J. EEITII BERIVEIVI' 
Our Lady of Tears. | Circe's Lovers. 

By Dlt^K. DONOVAIV. 
Tracked to Doom. 

By Miw. AXIVIE ODlVARVE.^t. 
Archie Lovell. 

By €i. ITIAIVV1EL<E EElViV. 

The New Mistress. 

By PERCV FITZCERAL,». 

Fatal Zero. 

By R. E. FRAIVCIELOX. 

Queen Cophetua. I A Real Queen. 
One by One. | King or Knave? 

I»i«f.by.SiiB.lRTL.E FRERE. 
Pandurang Hari. 

By EI>\VARJ> GARRE-TT, 
The Capel Girls. 



28 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



The Piccadilly (3/6) Novels — continued. 

By €IIARL<E:8 OIBBOIV. 
Kobin Gray. I The Golden Shaft. 

In Honour Bound. | Of High Degree. 
Loving a Dream. 
The Flower of the Forest. 

By E. GlrAIVVHiliE. 
The Lost Heiress. 
The Fossicker. 

By TIIOI?I.«!!) HARW. 
Under the Greenwood Tree. 

Br BRET IIARTE. 
A Waif of the Plains. 
A Ward of the Golden Gate. 
A Sappho of Green Springs. 
Colonel Starbottle's Client. 

By jrUL,IAN HAAVTIIOBNE. 
Carth. I Dust. 

Ellice Quentln. Fortune's Fool. 

Sebastian Strome. | Beatrix Randolph. 
David Poindexteifs Disappearance. 
The Spectre of the Camera. 

By !>«ir A. HEL.PM. 
Ivan de Biron. 

By I^AAV IIEIVDERSOIV. 
Agatha Page. 

By ITIrs. AI.FRED HUNT. 
The Leaden Casket. | Self-Condemned. 
That other Person. 

By JEAN IIVOEI^OW. 
Fated to be Free. 

By R. ASIIE KINO. 
A Drawn Game. 
"The Wearing of the Green." 

By HENRY KIN08JLEV. 
Number Seventeen. 

By E, I^VNN I.INTON. 
Patricia Kemball. I lone. 
Under which Lord? Paston Carew. 
"My Love!" I Sowing the Wind. 

The Atonement of Leam Dundas. 
The World Well Lost. 

By HENRY W. HTCY. 
Gideon Fleyce. 

By JUSTIN McCarthy. 

A Fair Saxon. I Donna Quixote. 

Linley Rochford. Maid of Athens. 
Miss Misanthrope. | Camiola. 
The Waterdale Neighbours. 
My Enemy's Daughter. 
Dear Lady Disdain. 
The Comet of a Season. 

By A«iNES ITIAC'DONEI^I^. 
Quaker Cousins. 

By FLORENCE ITIARRYAT. 
Open! Sesame! 

By D. CHRISTIE ITIURRAY. 
Life's Atonement. I Yal Strange. 
Joseph's Coat. Hearts. 

Coals of Fire. | A Model Father. 

Old Blazer's Hero. 
By the Gate of the Sea. 
A Bit of Human Nature. 
First Person Singular. 
Cynic Fortune. 
The Way of the World. 

By MURRAY & HERMAN. 
The Bishops' Bible. 
Paul Jones's Alias. 

By HUME NISBDT. 
"BaU Up I" 



The Piccadilly (3/6) Novels— confiMwri. 
By OEOROES OHNET. 

A Weird Gift. 

By Mrs. OUiIPHANT. 
Whiteladies. 

By OUIOA. 



Held in Bondage. 

Strathmore. 

Chandos. 

Under Two Flags. 

Idalia. 

CecilCastlemaine's 

Gage. 
Tricotrin. | Puck. 
Folle Farine. 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Pascarel. I Signa. 
Princess Haprax- 

ine. 

By MARGARET A. PAUI.. 
Gentle and Simple. 

By JAMES PAYN. 
Lost Sir Massingberd. 
Less Black than We're Painted. 
A Confidential Agent. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
In Peril and Privation. 
The Mystery of Mirbridge. 
The Canon's Ward. 



Two Little Wooden 

Shoes. 
In a Winter City. 
Ariadne. 
Friendship. 
Moths. I Ruffino. 
Pipistrello. 
AVillage Commune 
Blmbi. I Wanda. 
Frescoes. 
In Haremma. 
Othmar. | Syrlin. 
Guilderoy. 



Walter's Word. 
By Proxy. 
High Spirits. 
Under One Roof. 
From Exile. 
Glow-worm Tales. 



Talk of the Town. 
Holiday Tasks. 
The Burnt Million. 
The Word and the 

Will. 
Sunny Stories. 



By E. C. PRICE. 

Valentina. j The Foreigners. 

Mrs. Lancaster's E(val. 

By RBCHAKB PRYCE. 
Miss Maxwell's Affections. 

By CHARU.es REAHE. 
It is Never Too Late to Mend. 
The Double Marriage. 
Love Me Little, Love Me Long. 
The Cloister and the Hearth. 
The Course of True Love. 
The Autobiography of a Thiet 
Put Yourself in his Place. 
A Terrible Temptation. 
Singleheart and Doubleface. 
Good Stories of Men and other Animals. 
Hard Cash. Wandering Heir. 

Peg WofBngton. A Woman-Hater 
ChristieJohnstone. A Simpleton. 
Griffith Gaunt. Readiana. 

Foul Play. The Jilt. 

A Perilous Secret. 

By Mrs. .1. H. RIDDEUI.. 
The Prince of Wales's Garden Party. 
Weird Stories. 

By E. W. ROBINSON. 
Women are Strange. 
The Hands of Justice. 

By W. CUARIi. RUSSEUIj. 
An Ocean Tragedy. 
My Shipmate Louise. 

By JOHN SAUNDERS. 
Guy Waterman. | Two Dreamers. 
Bound to the Wheel. 
The Lion In the Path. 



CHATTO ic WINDU8, 214, PICCADILLY. 



ag 



Thk Piccadilly (3/(i) Novhls— ro/i/i/iiici/. 
By K.VTHAKIIVK WA I'i'VUKKS. 
Margaret and Elizabeth. 
Gideon's Rock. I Heart Salvage. 

The High Mills. | Sebastian. 

By I.l'KK !4I1AK1>. 
In a Steamer Chair. 

By IIA^VI.KV SITIABT. 
Without Love or Licence. 

By K. A. STKUNDAliB. 

The Afghan Knife. 

By BERTHA TIIOITIA!*. 

Proud Malsie. | The Violin-player. 

By FRAIVCKS K. TKOI.IiOPE. 

Like Ships upon the Sea. 

Anne Furness. | Mabel's Progress. 



Thf. Piccadilly (3/6) UovFA.s—contiitued. 
By ANTIIONV TB<»B.I.OI»K. 

Frau Frohmann. I Kept In the Dark. 
Marion Fay. | Land-Leaguers. 

The Way We Live Now. 
Mr. Scarborough's Family. 

By 1%'AIV TlIR«iKIVIEFF, Ac. 

Stories from Foreign Novelists. 
By V. €. FKASEU-TYTI.ER. 

Mistress Judith. 

By SARAH TYTIiER. 

The Bride's Pass. I Lady Bell. 
Noblesse Oblige. | Buried Diamonds. 
The Blackball Ghosts. 

By ITIARK TWAIN. 

The American Claimant. 



CHEAP EDITIONS OF POPULAR NOVELS. 

Post 8vo, illustrated boards, 'ia, each. 



By ARTEMIJS ^VARD. 

ArtemuB Ward Complete. 

Br EDITIOIVD ABOUT. 

The Fellah. 

By nAITIIL.TON AIDE. 

Carr of Carrlyon. | Confidences. 
By ITIARY Al.BCRT. 
Brooke Flnchley's Daughter. 

Br mis. AIvEXAIVDER. 
Maid, Wife,or Widow? | Valerie's Fate. 

By «RAWT AL.r,EIV. 
Strange Stories. I The Devil's Die. 
Phllistia. This Mortal Coil. 

Babylon. I In all Shades. 

The Beckoning Hand. 
For Maimie's Sake. | Tents of Shem. 
The Great Taboo. 

By AI.AIV ST. AUBYN. 
A Fellow of Trinity. 

Br R<*v. S. BARIIVO OOVLD. 
Bed Spider. | Eve. 

By FRANK BARRETT. 
Fettered for Life. 
Between Life and Death. 
The Sin of Olga Zassoulich. 
BySHEI.SI.EV BEAUCHAITIP. 
Grantley Grange. 
By W. BESANT & .1. RIl^E. 



By Celia's Arbour. 
Monks of Thelema. 
The Seamy Side. 
Ten Years' Tenant. 



This Son of Vulcan. 
My Little Girl. 
Case of Mr.Lucraft 
Golden Butterfly. 
Ready-Money Mortiboy 
With Harp and Crown. 
Twas in Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Chaplain of the Fleet. 

By WAI-TEK BESAIVT. 
Dorothy Forster. I Uncle Jack. 
Children of Gibeon. I Herr Paulus. 
All Sorts and Conditions of Men. 
The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. 
The World Went Very WeU Then. 
For Faith and Freedom. 
To Call Her Mine. 
The Bell of St. Paul's. 
The Holy Rose. 



Br FREDERICK BOYI.E. 

Camp Notes. | Savage Life. 

Chronicles of No-man's Land. 

By BRET HARTE. 

Flip. I Callfornlan Stories. 

Haruja. | Gabriel Conroy. 

An Heiress of Red Dog. 
The Luck of Roaring Camp. 
A Phyllis of the Sierras. 

By HAROLD BRYDOES. 

Oncle Sam at Home. 

By ROBERT BUCHANAN. 



The Shadow of the 

Sword. 
A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Foxglove Manor, 



The Martyrdom of 

Madeline. 
Annan Water. 
The New Abelard. 
Matt. 
The Heir of Linne. 



The Master of the Mine. 

By lIAIil. CAINE. 
The Shadow of a Crime. 
A Son of Hagar. { The Deemster. 

Br Coiiimnnd*'!' CAITIERON. 
The Cruise of the "Black Prince." 
By ITIis. I.OVETT CAMERON. 
Deceivers Ever. | Juliet's Guardian. 

By AUSTIN CI>ARE. 
For the Love of a Lass. 

By iUr«.. ARCHER CL.IVE. 
Paul Ferroll. 
Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 

By ITIACTAREN COBBAN. 
The Cure of Souls. 

By C. AI.I^STON COL,LINS. 
The Bar Sinister. 

inOBT. & FRAN«'ES COI.I.INS. 
Sweet Anne Page. ) Transmigration. 
From Midnight to Midnight. 
A Fight with Fortune. 
Sweet and Twenty. I Village Comedy. 
Frances. I You Play me f alss. 

Blaclismlth and Scholar. 



30 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



My Miscellanies. 
Woman in Wliite. 
The Moonstone. 
Man and Wife. 
Poor Miss Fincii. 
Tlie Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel's Daughter 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science. 
"1 Say No." 
The Evil Genius. 
Little Novels. 
Legacy of Cain. 
Blind Love. 



Two-Shilling iJovEi.s— continued. 

Armadale. 
After Dark. 
No Name. 
Antonina. | BasiL 
Hide and Seek. 
The Dead Secret. 
Queen of Hearts. 
Miss or Mrs? 
New Magdalen. 
The Frozen Deep. 
Law and the Lady. 
The Two Destinies. 
Haunted Hotel. 
A Rogue's Life. 

By ITI. J. COI.QUHOIJIV. 
Every Inch a Soldier. 

By DUTTOIV COOK. 
Leo. I Paul Foster's Daughter. 

By C. ECJBERT CKAOIXXBi. 
Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

By WIL-IilAM ClfPL<ES. 
Hearts of Gold. 

By AX.PIIOIVSE DAUDET. 
The Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 

By JAMES BE OTrt.t.E. 
A Castle in Spain. 

By J. I.EITI1 BERMEIVT. 
Our Lady of Tears. 1 Circe's Lovers. 

By tJHAKliES WICIiEiVSS. 
Sketches by Boz. | Oliver Twist. 
Pickwick Papers. | Nicholas Nickleby. 

By BICK BONOVAN. 
The Man-Hunter. | Caught at Last! 
Tracked and Taken. 
Who Poisoned Hetty Duncan? 
The Man from Manchester. 
A Detective's Triumphs. 
In the Grip of the Law. 

By COIVAN BOYIjE, Ac. 
Strange Secrets. 

By "rs. AIVNIE EBWAKBES. 
A Point of Honour. | Archie Lovell. 

By M. BETHAM-ED%VAKDS. 
Felicia. I Kitty. 

By EDWARB EOOJLES^TOIV. 
Roxy. 

By PERCY FITZOERALD. 
Bella Donna. I Polly. 

Never Forgotten. | Fatal Zero. 
The Second Mrs. Tillotson. 
Seventy-five Brooke Street. 
The Lady of Brantome. 
AL,BAIVY BE FOIVBJLANQUE. 
Filthy Lucre. 

By R. E. FRAlVCIt,r.«IV. 
Olympia. I Queen Cophetua. 

One by One. King or Knave? 

A Real Queen. | Romances of Law. 

By IIAROI.D FREBERICK. 
Seth's Brother's Wife. 
The Lawton Girl. 

Fret, by »iv BARTIiB FREBE. 
Paodurang Hari. 



Two- Shilling Novels — continued. 

By IIAIN FRI!!$\VE£iIi. 
One of Two. 

By EBWARB CARRETT. 

The Capel Girls. 

By CBLARL,ES OIBBON. 

Robin Gray. In Honour Bound. 

Fancy Free. Flower of Forest. 

For Lack of Gold. Braes of Yarrow. 
What will the The Golden Shaft. 

World Say? Of High Degree. 

In Love and War. Mead and Stream. 
For the King. Loving a Dream. 

In Pastures Green. A Hard Knot. 
Queen of Meadow. Heart's Delight. 
A Heart's Problem. Blood-Money. 
The Dead Heart. 

By WII^LiIAM OIJLBERT. 
Dr. Austin's Guests. I James Duke. 
The Wizard of the Mountain. 

By E RIVE ST GI.AIVVfLiI>E. 
The Lost Heiress. 

Ry HENRY CiKV:VIL.JjE. 
A Noble Woman. 1 Nikanor. 

By JOHr¥ HABBEKTON. 
Brueton's Bayou. | Country Luck. 

By AlVBRETV HAJLI.IDAY. 
Every-Day Papers. 

By r.a«ly BIFF US HARBY. 
Paul Wynter's Sacrifice. 

By THOMAS HARBY. 
Under the Greenwood Tree. 
Rv .1. BER^VICK. HABWOOB. 
The Tenth Earl. 

By JCIilAN HAVi'THOR.'VE. 
Garth. Sebastian Stronie. 

Ellice Quentin. Dust. 

Fortune's Fool. Beatrix Randolph. 

Miss Cadogna. Love— or a Name. 

David Poindexter's Disappearance. 
The Spectre of the Camera. 

By Sir ARTHUR HELPS. 
Ivan de Biron. 

By HEIVBY HERMAN. 
A Leading Lady. 

Ry Mrs. CASHEL. HOEY. 
The Lover's Creed. 

By Mrs. GEORGE HOOPER. 
The House of Raby. 

Ry TIGHE HOPKINS. 
'Twixt Love and Duty. 

Rv Mrs. AliFREB HINT. 
Thornicroft's Model. I Self Condemned, 
That Other Person. | Leaden Casket. 

By JEAN 1NGE1.0^V. 
Fated to be Free. 

By HARRIETT JAY. 
The Dark Colleen. 
The Queen of Connaught. 

By MARK KERSHA'W. 
Colonial Facts and Fictions. 

By R. ASHE KING. 
A Drawn Game. | Passion's Slave* 
" The Wearing of the Green." 
Bell Barry. 



CHATTO & WINDUS, 214, PICCADILLY. 



31 



Two-Shilling Novels— continued. 

I8j IIKIVKV KIi-V««IiKV. 
Oakshott Castle. 

I5y .lOBBlV liEYS. 

Tho Lindsays. 

It) i:. liVivx i.irvTON. 

Patricia Kemball. I Paston Carew. 

World Well Lost. "Ky Love!" 

Under which Lord? I lone. 

The Atonement of Learn Dundas. 

With a Sillten Thread. 

The Rebel of the Family. 

Sowing the Wind. 

By IlK.MtV W. liUCV. 

Gideon Fleyce. 

By jrS'l'PiV IU«-C"AKTaiV. 

A Fair Saxon. I Donna Quixote. 

Liniey Rochford. 1 Maid of Athens. 

Miss Misanthrope. | Camlola. 

Dear Lady Disdain. 

The Waterdale Neighbours. 

My Enemy's Daughter. 

The Comet of a Season. 

By A«>K!>!t ITIAC DOIVElili. 

Quaker Cousins. 

K ATilABl^E S. IWAt!<iUOIO. 

The Evil Eye. | Lost Rose. 

By w. ti. :tial.l.«ck. 

The New Republic. 

By FL,OKi:Nt'K iltARBVAT. 
Open ! Sesame ! I Fighting the Air. 
A Harvest of Wild Oats. 
Written in Fire. 

By J. lUASTERMAIV. 
Haifa-dozen Daughters. 
By BKAXDER ItlATTHEWS. 
A Secret of the Sea. 

By JEAX MIOBI.E TIASr*. 
Touch and Go. | Mr. Dorlilion. 

By ITlrs. ITIOIiESWOKTM. 
Hathercourt Rectory. 

Br .f. E. ITIIfODOCK. 

Stories Weird and Wonderful. 
The Dead Man's Secret. 

Bv I). CHamiMTIK ItlURRAV. 



Old Blazer's Hero. 

Hearts. 

Way of the World. 

Cynic Fortune. 



A Model Father. I 
Joseph's Coat. | 

Coals of Fire. I 

Yal Strange. 1 

A Life's Atonement 
By the Gate of the Sea. 
A Bit of Human Nature. 
First Person Singular. 

By lltlEBAV jiiiil HERITIAX. 

One Traveller Returns. 
Paul Jones's Alias. 
The Bishops' Bible. 

Br IIEIVRV .IIL'RKAV. 

k Game of BIulT. 

BrAI,l«'E 0'IIA.'VI.«».'V. 

The Unforeseen. | Chance? or Fate? 



Two-Shilling Novels— coii/ijikci?. 

By oeor<.:eh OII^IET. 

Doctor Rameau. I A Lasi Love. 
A Weird Gift. | 

Br ITIvH. OIilI»ilAI\T. 
Whiteladles. | The Primrose Path. 

The Greatest Heiress in England. 
By ITIrs. ROBERT OREIIil^V. 
Phoebe's Fortunes. 



By <»l 

Held in Bondage. 

Strathmore. 

Chancios. 

Under Two Flags. 

Idalla. 

CecllCastlemalne's 

Gage. 
Tricotrin. 
Puck. 

Folle Farine. 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Pascarel. 
Signa. 
Princess Naprax- 

ine. 
In a Winter City. 
Ariadne. 



■ OA. 

Two Little Wooden 
Shoes. 

Friendship. 

Moths. 

Pipistreilo. 

A Village Com- 
mune. 

Bimbi. 

Wanda. 

Frescoes. 

In Maremma* 

Othmar. 

Guilderoy. 

Rufflno. 

Syrlin. 

Ouida's Wisdom. 
Wit, and Pathos 



:UAR«ARET AGIVES PA UE. 

Gentle and Simple. 

By JAMES PAA'IV. 



£200 Reward. 
Marine Residence. 
Mirk Abbey. 
By Proxy. 
Under One Roof. 
High Spirits. 
Carlyon's Year. 
From Exile. 
For Cash Only. 
Kit. 

The Canon's Ward 
Talk of the Town. 
Holiday Tasks. 



Bentlnck's Tutor, 

Murphy's Master. 

A County Family. 

At Her Mercy. 

Cecil's Tryst. 

Clyffards of Clyffe. 

Foster Brothers. 

Found Dead. 

Best of Husbands. 

Walter's Word. 

Halves. 

Fallen Fortunes. 

Humorous Stories. 

Lost Sir Massingberd 

A Perfect Treasure. 

A Woman's Vengeance. 

The Family Scapegrace. 

What He Cost Her. 

Gwendoline's Harvest. 

Like Father, Like Son. 

Married Beneath Him. 

Not Wooed, but Won. 

Less Black than We're PaintecL 

A Confidential Agent. 

Some Private Views. 

A Grape from a Thorn. 

Glow-worm Tales. 

The Mystery of Mirbridge. 

The Burnt Million. 

The Word and the Will. 

By V. E. PlIiKin. 
Lady Lovelace. 

B% EU<;AIS a. POEi:. 
The Mystery of Marie Koget. 

lir E. C. PICK E. 
Valentlna. | The Foreigners. 

Mrs. Lancaster'! Rival. 
Gerald. 



32 



CHATTO & WINDUS, 214, PICCADILLY. 



Two-Shilling Novels — continued. 
Bv « IfARE.r:!)! READE. 

It is Never Too Late to Mend. 

Christie Johnstone. 

Put Yourself in His Place. 

The Double Marriage. 

Love Me Little, Love Me Long. 

The Cloister and the Hearth. 

The Course of True Love. 

Autobiography of a Thief. 

A Terrible Temptation. 

The Wandering Heir. 

Singleheart and Doubleface. 

Good Stories of Men and other Animals. 

Hard Cash. I A Simpleton. 

Peg Woffington. | Readiana. 

Griffith Gaunt. I A Woman-Hater. 

Foul Play. | The Jilt. 

A Perilous Secret. 

Bv Mrs. J. Iff. RlDDKI.Ti. 
Weird Stories. | Fairy Water. 
Her Mother's Darling. 
Prince of Wales's Garden Party. 
The Uninhabited House. 
The Mystery in Palace Gardens. 
By F. ^V. ROBIIVSOIV. 
Women are Strange. 
The Hands of Justice. 

By JAITIES RnVCIMAlV. 
Skippers and Shellbacks. 
Grace Balmalgn's Sweetheart. 
Schools and Scholars. 

By \V. CliARK RUSSEI.L.. 
Round the Galley Fire. 
On the Fo'k'sle Head. 
In the Middle Watch. 
A Voyage to the Cape. 
A Book for the Hammock. 
The Mystery of the "Ocean Star." 
The Romance of Jenny Harlowe. 
An Ocean Tragedy. 
My Shipmate Louise. 

<^eoki;;e auoustus sai.a. 

Gaslight and Daylight. 

By JOHN MAUNBERS. 
Guy Waterman. | Two Dreamers. 
The Lion in the Path. 
B«y KATfSARINE SAUIVDERS. 
Joan Merry weather. | Heart Salvage. 
The High Mills. | Sebastian. 

Margaret and Elizabeth. 

ny OEOBCiE R. SIIUM. 

Rogues and Vagabonds. 

The Ring o' Bells. 

Mary Jane's Memoirs. 

Mary Jane Married. 

Tales of To-day. | Dramas of Life. 

Tinkletop's Crime. 

Zeph: A Circus Story. 

By ARTSIUK SKETCffll.EV. 

A Match in the Dari:. 

By IBAWI.KV SITIART. 
Without Love or Licence. 

By T. %V. SPEKiiar. 

The Mysteries of Heron Dyke. 

I'ha Golden Hoop. | Ey Devious Ways. 

Hoodwinked, &c. | Back to Life. 



Two-Shilling Novels — continued. 
By R. A. STERNBAI^E. 

The Afghan Knife. 

By R. JiOUl!^ STEVENSOiV. 
New Arabian Nights. | Prince Otto. 
BV BEKTaiA THOMA«*. 

Cressida. | Proud Maisie. 

The Violin-player. 

By ^VAB/l'EK TIIORIVBURV. 

Tales for the Marines. 
Old Stories Re-told. 

T. ADOr.PHUS TRO[.L.OPE. 

Diamond Cut Diamond. 

By F. EI.EAIVOB TROI.f.OPE. 

Like Ships upon the Sea. 
Anne Furness. ; Mabel's Progress. 
By ANTJIONV TROI^LOPE. 

Frau Frohmann. I Kept in the Darki 

Marion Fay. | John Caldigate. 

The Way We Live Now. 

The American Senator. 

Mr. Scarborough's Family. 

The Land-Leaguers. 

The Golden Lion of Granpere. 

By jr. T. TROWBRIUGB. 

Farnell's Folly. 

By IVAiX TITRGENIEFF, &c. 

Stories from Foreign Novelists, 

By .^lARK TWAIN. 

Tom Sawyer. | A Tramp Abrcadt 

The Stolen White Elephant. 

A Pleasure Trip on the Continent. 

Huckleberry Finn. 

Life on the Mississippi. 

The Prince and the Pauper. 

By C. C. FRASER-TITTI.ER. 

Mistress Judith. 

By (^ARAII TYTLiER. 

The Bride's Pass. I Noblesse Oblige. 
Buried Diamonds. | Disappeared. 
Saint Mungo'sCity. Huguenot Familyg 
Lady Bell. | Blackball Ghosts. 

What She Came Through. 
Beauty and the Beast. 
Citoyeune Jaqueline. 

By Mrs. F. II. WILI^IAITISOIV. 

A Child Widow. 

ISv J. !*. WINTER. 

Cavalry Life. i Regimental Legends. 
By II. F. AVOOB. 

The Passenger from Scotland Yard. 
The Englishman of the Rue Cain. 

By t,a«ly WOOD. 
Sab in a. 

t'ES.BA PARKER WO«f.I,EV, 

Rachel Armstrong; or, Love & Theology 
By EBTIUNO VATE*. 

The Forlorn Hope. | Land at Lasti 
Castaway. 



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